V’zot Habrachah – Moses’ finale

1 Moses went up from the eastern area of Moab to Mount Nebo [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Nebo – to the top of the peak – that faced Jericho. YHWH showed him all the Land: from the Gilad to Dan regions, 2 all of Naftali to the regions of Ephraim and Menashe, all the regions of Judah to the sea at the end, 3 the Negev – the area of the valley of Jericho that was the city of date palms, to Tzoar. 4 YHWH spoke to him: this is the Land that I swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob saying: to your descendants will I give it; I have shown to you with your eyes, but you will not pass into it.

Deuteronomy 34

So when is enough? When do we know we have had enough of life? Can we ever have heard or tasted enough? Moshe missed out on the whole next chapter of the journey because he died on Mt. Nebo. But would even crossing into the Promised Land have been enough? Wasn’t he tired of the taste of Manna, even if it did change in flavor from time to time?

If he were to begin to eat the fruits and vegetables of that uncharted land, would it have overwhelmed him? His senses would have been filled to the brim and he might not have been able to absorb the wondrous place.

10 Moses heard the people, each family crying at the opening of their tent, YHWH was very angry and in the eyes of Moses it was wrong. 11 Moses spoke to YHWH: why have you wronged your servant and why haven’t I found favor in your eyes; to place the burden of this whole people upon me?

Numbers 12

And he could have also overheard even more complaints from the people and of course their trepidation about the future. The future eventually became less about new possibilities and so became less and less appealing.

1 Moses went up from the eastern area of Moab to Mount Nebo…

Deuteronomy 34

Find your spot on Mt Nebo and see the road ahead, but remember the long, tortuous journey you have just completed to get to this place. Honor all of it with all your heart and all your soul and all your might. The journey had no perceivable finish line or end point, but it was your life’s work. Be assured that someone else will be there to carry on…

9 So Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had put his hands upon him; the children of Israel listened to him as YHWH had commanded Moses.

Deuteronomy 34
View of Mount Nebo

5 Moses, the servant of YHWH, died there in the land of Moab by the order of YHWH. 6 He was buried in the valley of the land of Moab, opposite Beit Peor; even today no one knows where his grave is.

Deuteronomy 34

Midrash Harabah and English translations by Rabbi Gail Shuster-Bouskila ©2021