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Completing Moses’ task

The Holy Land– the greatest gift of all

The opening verse of this week’s Torah portion begins Moses’ account of how he prayed to enter the land of Israel:

“And I entreated God at that time, click saying.”

The Midrash[1] explains that when God fulfills a person’s prayer, it can be either by virtue of their merits or, if they have no merits, He does so gratuitously. Even though Moses was certainly righteous and could have supplicated God by virtue of his good deeds and Torah study, he chose not to. Instead he pleaded that God not judge him as He judges the righteous (indeed, Moses did not consider himself to be worthy at all), but rather, that he fulfill his wish of entering the Holy Land only as a gratis gift.

So we see that praying for a gift from God and entering the Holy Land are essentially connected to one another. This is alluded to in the sum of their numerical values. The gematria of “gratis gift” (???? ???) is 988 (38 times 26) and that of “land of Israel” (??? ?????) is 832 (32 times 26); together their sum is 1820 (also the number of times that the Name  ????? appears in the entire Pentateuch), which equals 70, the value of the word “secret” (???) times 26, the value of Havayah (?????), God’s essential Name. Juxtaposed, these two words allude to the verse, “God’s secret is for those who fear Him.”[2]

In order to understand the secret of Moses entering the land of Israel, thereby bringing the final redemption, we will note that in the first few verses of this Torah portion the root ??? appears five times with various connotations. This root generally means “passing” as in the passage from one bank of the Jordan to the other, but it also means “impregnation.” Thus Moses’ statement that “God was furious with me”[3] (?????? ???’ ??) can be understood as, “God impregnated Himself in me.” This alludes to the idea that ultimately, the passage into the Holy Land is dependent on God instilling a new Divine soul in Moses with which he will be empowered to lead the Jewish people to the final redemption.

God, as it were, must make the passage from His Divine realm into our physical realm by instilling His Divinity within Moses, thereby affecting the entire Jewish people. Once God has taken the initiative, Moses, as he appears in the soul of Mashiach will finally be able to pass over the Jordan and enter the Holy Land to complete his mission of redeeming the Jewish people.

[1]. Devarim Rabbah 2:1.

[2] Psalms 25:14.

[3] Deuteronomy 3:26.

On the verse in this week’s parashah, ailment “You have begun to show your servant…” the Zohar asks, for sale

What beginning is the verse referring to? It is certainly referring to Moses as being the first to be whole and complete. Though Jacob too was whole to a certain extent, sovaldi sale Moses was crowned by greater wholeness, with thousands and tens-of-thousands of Jews, with the Torah, with the Tabernacle, with the priests, the Levites, with twelve tribes, with their princes and with the seventy elders of the Sanhedrin. Moses was also of bodily wholeness; he stood with Aharon to his right and with Nachshon to his left. Thus, Moses is the beginning. Should you ask, who then will wholeness be perfected by? The perfection of wholeness will be with the Mashiach, for then the world will be whole, with a wholeness that has never been seen. At that time there will be wholeness above and below and all the worlds will join in one unity.

Three stages of completeness

By analyzing the Zohar here, we can identify three stages in the progression of wholeness: from Jacob through Moses to Mashiach. Jacob was perfect, but his perfection, described by the phrase, “Jacob’s beauty was similar to the beauty of Adam [who was created by God Himself],” was relatively unrealized potential. Although all Jacob’s sons were righteous, they composed only the fundamental core of the Jewish people, who had yet to be generated.

In contrast, Moses represents the realization of perfection. Not only is Moses perfect as an individual, but the Jewish people had also developed into a perfectly structured nation. This perfection of the Jewish people would have reached its culmination had Moses entered the land of Israel with them and the Temple that he would have built would have been indestructible. However, sinning under these circumstances would have placed the Jewish people’s physical existence in jeopardy. Instead of destroying the Temple’s wooden beams and stone pillars, God’s wrath would have focused on the people themselves, God forbid. Thus, the time was not yet ripe for the redemption to manifest in Moses’ generation; ultimate perfection will only be achieved in the third stage, the era of Mashiach.

Perfection after amputation

The difference between Moses’ era and the future era of Mashiach is that under Moses’ leadership the Jewish people had to undergo various “amputations”: worshippers of Ba’al Peor were annihilated by God; Korach and his congregation were swallowed up by the earth; the spies died in the wilderness and there were many more incidents that were dealt with harshly by God, in keeping with Moses’ pure soul who was intolerant of any diversion from God’s path.

This idea is expressed in the Zohar, which describes how Moses stands between Aharon on his right and Nachshon on his left. Aharon on his right relates to the loving embrace that he offers all Jews, whereas Nachshon, from the tribe of Judah, is ready to jump forward without taking any opposition into account. Nonetheless, he also does so lovingly by volunteering on behalf of his people, as his father’s name (??????) suggests, but his love is cloaked in might.

Mashiach accepts all Jews

In contrast, under the leadership of Mashiach, even Jews who are farthest away from God’s service will be brought back into the fold by gathering them in and rediscovering the point in their hearts with which they still cling to God. These modern worshippers of Pe’or; the spies and the congregation of present-day Korach will all be a part of Mashiach’s redemption. As we see in this week’s haftarah of consolation, “Like a shepherd [who] tends his flock, with his arm he gathers lambs, and in his bosom he carries [them], the nursing ones he leads.”[1]

From Harav Ginsburgh’s class, 11th Av 5772

[1] Isaiah 40:11.

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