Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Ha'azinu
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of

Yaakov Ben Behora

Parashat Ha'azinu

Moshe's Departure


Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Iskowitz

This week's parashah reminds us that we will soon be privileged to complete the cycle of this year's reading from Torat Moshe. As we approach Chag Ha'asif, tekufat ha-shanah ("the Festival of the Ingathering, [at the beginning of] the year's cycle," many of us will also have been blessed with having had the opportunity of acquiring all, or some, of the Arba'ah Minim ("Four Species") in - or at least, from - Eretz Israel. It is appropriate, therefore, that we should recall and appreciate Moshe Rabbenu's self-sacrifice that has allowed us to live in and enjoy the fruits (and mitzvot!) of the Land he so longed to enter.

At the end of the parashah God tells Moshe, "Go up to ... Mount Nevo ... and behold the land of Cana'an ... for you shall .see the land from afar, but you shall not come there." Rashi says that God afforded Moshe this opportunity, because He knew how dear the Land was to him.

According to the Yalkut Shim'oni, when asked by the people why God did not let him enter the land, Moshe humbly answered (32:4), "He is the Rock, His actions are perfect, for all His Ways are just," adding that he had brought it on himself (through the sin of Mei Merivah).

The Midrash states, however, that God really wanted Moshe: 1) to be buried (34:6) "opposite the House of Pe'or," to atone for the people's sin there, and thus enable .the living of that generation to enter the land; and 2) to (33:21) "come at the head of the people" - to lead those who had died in the desert into the land at the time of the Resurrection, may it occur speedily, in our lifetime!

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