Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Vayelech
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of

R. Avraham Ben David

Parshat Vayelekh

Moshe's last Teaching

Never to despair . Moshe's last day. Moshe's lesson for all the generations.


Rabbi Shlomo Shushan

Elul 5761
1. Never to despair
2. Moshe's last day
3. Moshe's lesson for all the generations

Never to Despair
One should never despair or give up hope, as we see through Moshe Rebbeinu who, even on his last day, continued to carry out Hashem's Will.

Moshe's Last Day
"And Moshe went and spoke these words to all Israel" (Dvarim 31,1). The word went (valech) puzzles many of the commentators. What exactly is the meaning of "Moshe went"? Where exactly did he go to? The Ibn-Ezra explains that Moshe went from tribe to tribe in order to alleviate them of their fears of his pending death. Moshe felt this task was of such paramount importance that he felt that he should do it himself. Another opinion holds that Moshe felt that he should bless each individual tribe with a special blessing, which appears later on in Dvarim in Tzot Habracha.

Moshe begins his special task by proclaiming "I am one hundred and twenty years today and can no longer go out and go in." Rashi explains the reason that Hashem decided to replace Moshe was not due to physical ailments as later evidenced in verse (Dvarim 34,7) "And his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated", but rather Hashem wished to remove the mantle of leadership and pass it over to Yehoshua. What does Moshe do on his last day when he is faced with his upcoming death and the loss of his leadership?

Midrash Rabba (Parsha 9, Piska 9) describes in detail Moshe's last day. For forty years Moshe has given over to Am Yisrael what he received from Hashem. Moshe never shirked his responsibility or diminished his dedication to leading and teaching Am Yisrael. Even on his last day he did not rest or worry about his own personal needs or spiritual considerations. Rather he was busy concentrating on the future of Am Yisrael. He dedicated his last day to writing 13 Sefer Torahs, one for each tribe and one to placed with him in his grave to ensure that there would be no discrepancies, so the nation would be united under the Truth of Torah.

Moshe's Lesson for all the Generations
We should learn from Moshe. Even at a time when our leaders may not be faithful or bound to the truth, we should not ignore the situation with the intention of eventually taking control and only then revealing the truth. Even on Moshe's last day he worries about the nation and feels a responsibility to the eternal Truth (the 13 Torahs). Even though we have yet to merit the acceptance of Torah by all the nations, a great task awaits us. We should teach and spread the Truth of the Torah to all the tribes of Israel and guard this Truth. We should not forget that the seeds that are planted today might just take root, grow and sustain future generations.

This was the special level that Moshe reached in his continuous active role as the leader of Am Yisrael, until his death. This attribute of going forward until one reaches his level, function, or potential is only applicable to man. Angels always remain on the same level. Moshe Rabbeineu , however, reached yet an even more special and higher level on his last day as he continued to be concerned with the future of Am Yisrael and the Truth of the Torah. The words "And Moshe went" , therefore, express the high level Moshe achieved through his love and devotion to the Truth that even on the day of his death he continued forward in his efforts to lead the nation to Torah.
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