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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach V'zot Habracha

Parashat Vezot Habracha

Moshe’s Tears

Who wrote the last 8 verses of the torah?; Why did Moshe cry?;
Dedicated to the memory of
Amram son of Sultana
Click to dedicate this lesson
Today we complete the yearly cycle of reading the Torah. The Torah is the word of God, as dictated through prophecy to Moshe Rabbenu. The Talmud (Baba Batra 15a), however, debates whether this is also true about the last eight verses of the Torah which discuss Moshe’s death. Rabbi Yehuda says that it was Yehoshua who wrote these verses, while Rabbi Shimon says that Moshe wrote them, but with tears.
We may ask, why did Moshe cry when he wrote these last eight verses? Surely, he knew that one day he would die. What, then, caused him such sorrow that brought him to tears?

The answer becomes clear as we go back one verse to the ninth to last verse in the Torah: "And God said to him (Moshe): This is the land which I made an oath to Avraham, to Yitzchak, and to Ya’akov saying: ‘I will give it to your descendents.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross (the river) to enter it" (Devarim 34:4).
Moshe Rabbenu, upon hearing God’s final communication to him, begins to cry. He continues to cry, even as he records God’s words testifying to Moshe’s greatness, his closeness to God, and the love that the people had for him.

Moshe, our teacher, left us with this final message: All of one’s personal achievements in this world pale in contrast to the fulfillment of God’s oath to our forefathers and the achievement of the Jewish people’s national dream.

This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
Aloh Na'aleh
POB 4337, Jerusalem 91042
Tel: 972-2-566-1181 ext. 320 ~ Fax: 972-2-566-1186
Rabbi Avraham Norin
Currently teaching in a day school in the U.S. and serving as an "Aloh Naaleh" representative.
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