Vaetchanan - Moshe Rabeinu's Love of Zion

"There is no greater love of Zion than that of Moshe Rabeinu."

Dr. Joseph Frager,

צילום: יד לאחים

There is no greater love of Zion (Chovevei Zion) than that of Moshe Rabeinu's. Moshe's 515 entreaties of G-d (the Gematria of Vaetchanan) to enter Eretz Yisrael is unparalleled.

Moshe says, "Please allow me to cross over and see the Good Land that is across the Jordan, the Good Mountain (Rashi says is Yerushalayim) and the Lebanon (Rashi says is the Beit Hamikdash)." Why does Moshe choose this moment to ask G-d to enter Eretz Yisrael? Rashi and the Ramban answer by saying that after Moshe conquered Sichon and Og that he thought G-d might have canceled the vow.

To amplify and expound on this, Moshe taught us the concept of "Bitul Bkzato Bitul Kulo" ( If part is nullified then all is nullified). It is this principle that Moshe was using to believe that G-d might have canceled the decree to not allow him into Eretz Yisrael. Obviously, Moshe knew well that G-d's decrees or vows could be canceled or at least modified.This fact gives Jews around the world eternal hope. If nothing else is expressed here (and there is so much more to be learned from this episode) then the Cancellation of Decrees by G-d is enough.

However, we learn to pray to G-d at a propitious moment as Moshe did here. He had just conquered two Great Kings with G-d's help, begun the conquest of Eretz Yisrael as a result, so Moshe felt empowered to entreat G-d at this propitious time. We learn a great deal about Tephilla from Moshe at this moment. He never gave up until G-d told him directly to do so. The Devarim Rabbah discusses how the Decree against Moshe entering Eretz Yisrael is mutually exclusive from saving the Jewish People after the Golden Calf. They were interdependent Decrees.

G-d would not allow both Moshe's entry into Eretz Yisrael and saving the Jewish People after the Golden Calf. It was either or. It was "You will not cross the Jordan" versus "Let me alone and I will destroy them and blot out their name from under the heavens, and I will make a nation far greater than they". Moshe could not have it both ways even though he prayed that that would be the case. Either G-d started a New Nation with Moshe as the Leader in Eretz Yisrael or he saved the Golden Calf Generation and allowed their children to start over in Eretz Yisrael with a new Leader.

Of course Moshe would rather sacrifice himself to save his people than to enter Eretz Yisrael. He was all about sacrifice. The Jewish People came first. He was all about giving every ounce of his being to save his people. Despite this incredible decision that Moshe had to make, he did not hesitate to make it. This may be the true definition of Anivut (humility) (Moshe being the Greatest Anav who ever lived). Giving 100% of yourself for the Jewish People and leaving nothing for yourself.

The self only mattered for the whole. It was not about self. It was about being "selfless" which Moshe represented to the hilt. When all Jews are like the self sacrificing Moshe, the Redemption will I'YH come speedily in our day.