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What's Your Excuse?

By Tzvi Fishman
3/2/2009, 12:00 AM

Today, the seventh of Adar, is the yahrtzeit of Moshe Rabainu, may his memory be for a blessing. The greatest disappointment and tragedy of his life was in not being allowed to enter the Land of Israel. For over forty years, he strove with all of his heart, with all of his soul, and with all of his might to bring the Jews to Israel, but he himself was denied this unsurpassed privilege, honor, and reward. More than anything else in the world, he wanted to come to Israel. He begged G-d, over and over, hundreds of times, to allow him to enter Eretz Yisrael, to prostrate himself in its dust and perform the commandments unique to the Holy Land. “I don’t have to be the leader of the Jewish people,” he declared. “I don’t have to be their rabbi or king. Turn me into an ant if You want, and let me crawl into the Promised Land on all fours.”

What's your excuse?

Moshe was our teacher back then, and he is our teacher today. Can there be a clearer example of how we should relate to the mitzvah of living in Israel? Just as Moshe longed to dwell in the Land, so should we. Just as Moshe begged G-d to grant him this privilege, so should we. Just as Moshe wasn’t afraid of the heathens, and giants, and enemies in the Land, so we shouldn’t fear them today. Just as Moshe understood that Judaism without Eretz Yisrael cannot be complete, so should we. Just as Moshe understood that the Nation of Israel cannot fulfill its Divine calling in foreign lands so should we.  Just as Moshe understood that a Jew cannot be true to G-d and the Torah without being in the Land of the Torah, so should we. Just as Moshe understood that the harshest punishment in the world was to remain behind in exile, outside the Land of Israel, so should we. Just as Moshe was ready to give up all prestige and honor, in order to come to Eretz Yisrael, so should we.

May his memory be for a blessing.