Moses' Message

There is one primary, fundamental theme which runs through both readings this week.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Rabbi S Weiss.JPG
Arutz 7
As in most years, the parshiyot of Nitzavim & Veyelech are combined on this Shabbat, the final Shabbat of year
5770. What is it that connects them?

I suggest that there is one primary theme which runs through both readings, & it is the fundamental lesson which
Moshe went to visit each & every tribe, shevet, to say goodbye,
we must internalize before we step into the dock on the Days of Judgment: The Jewish People are One.

It begins by stating emphatically: "You stand here today, all of you - from the elders to the babies, from the heads
of tribes to the water-drawers." The "heads" reach the highest heights, while water seeks its own, lower level.

"And not just you who are assembled here (are part of this covenant); but also those who are not here!" (The Jews
who have passed on, & those yet to be born).

"Then G-d will gather all of you together, from the farthest reaches of the world, to be consolidated within one Land,
where the Mitzvot may be fully activated."

And then the penultimate Mitzva of the Torah - Hakhel - whereby the King assembles everyone - men, women,
children, converts - to hear selections from the Torah. And finally, the last of the 613 Commandments: The obligation for each person to write, or participate in the writing of a Sefer Torah, the letters of which stand for the
totality of the nation, the words and laws of which are the "great equalizer" affecting each & every Jew alike.

The second Sedra of Shabbat begins, "Vayelech Moshe," and Moshe went. But where did he go? Some say it was to invoke the blessing of the Avot, or to the Bet Midrash or even to his death. But Ibn Ezra interprets the statement quite literally: Moshe went to visit each & every tribe, shevet, to say goodbye.

But could this be so? To traverse the camp Moshe would have had to walk 12 parsa (46,000 meters or 28.6 miles!). Could a man of 120, who had much to do this last day of his life, really cover so much ground?

I suggest that he could - & did. For Moshe wanted to emphasize - with his last great act in this world - that all
of Bnei Yisrael equally deserved to be recognized & honored: The scholars of Yissachar, the businessmen of
Zevulun, the soldiers, the farmers, the water-drawers & the high officials. Like true curators of art, Moshe understood that the value of a painting lies not in its size, but in its substance. And so each Jew has infinite value.

Where did Moshe go; where has Moshe gone? Hopefully, his spirit of unity went into each & every one of us.