Chasidic Insights

on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 31, v. 1: "Va'yeilech Moshe va'y'da'ber" - Even though Moshe was at the end of his life and "ein shilton b'yom ham'oves," there is no mastery on the day of one's death, requiring Moshe to now GO OUT to the masses and deliver his message, nevertheless, decades of committed leadership brought about that even then he had the respect of the public. Read "va'y'da'ber" as "va'yadbeir," as in T'hilim 49:2, "Yadbeir amim tachteinu." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 31, v. 1: "Va'y'da'beir es hadvorim ho'eileh el KOL Yisroel" - Moshe drove his words so deeply into the hearts of the bnei Yisroel so that they would in turn pass on his message to the next generation, and the next to the next, as if he spoke to "KOL Yisroel," to all later generations. (Rabbi Sholo-m of Koidnov in Divrei Sholo-m)

A similar interpretation is offered on the last verse of our parsha, 31:30, "Va'y'da'beir Moshe b'oznei kol k'hal Yisroel es Divrei hashiroh hazose ad TUMOM." Moshe drove the words of this song into the ears of all the congregation Yisroel until their final generation. (Mo'ore Voshomesh)

Based on this interpretation we might say that Moshe, knowing that he was at the end of his days on this ephemeral world, wanted to have his merits and guidance to live on even after his passing. One who is alive is a "holeich," one who "walks and accomplishes," while one who has died is an "omeid," he remains stagnant, not being able to do more after his passing. Moshe was able to continue "walking" even after his passing, "Va'yeilech Moshe," specifically because his words affected all future generations, "el KOL Yisroel." (Nirreh li)

Ch. 31, v. 2: "Ben mei'oh v'esrim shonoh onochi ha'yom" - There is a custom to recite the chapter of T'hilim that corresponds to the number of years of one's age. The chapter is one beyond one's age, as for example, if a person is 20 years old, he is presently in his 21st year of life. On his 20th birthday he will begin reciting the 21st chapter of T'hilim daily.

As just mentioned in the previous offering, Moshe continued to accomplish even after his death by giving the bnei Yisroel guidance that would be passed on to all future generations. On Moshe's final day on earth, when he turned 120 years old, he possibly recited chapter 121 of T'hilim, whose final verse (8) is "Hashem yishmore tzeis'cho uvo'echo mei'atoh v'ad olom." Hashem will safe-keep Moshe's "coming and going," his continued accomplishing and not stagnant "amidoh," for ever. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 31, v. 2: "Lo uchal ode lotzeis v'lovo" - Even though Moshe's soul had already been on this earth in the form of other people (Hevel, Sheis, Noach according to Kabalists), his soul was reincarnated to accomplish what was incomplete in previous lives. Now he will not "leave and come" again as a reincarnation, as he has lived a complete life, fulfilling all that was not accomplished previously. (Rabbi Uri the "sorof" of Strelisk in Imrei Kodesh)

Ch. 31, v. 2: "Lo saavore es haYardein" - Rashi says "shenitloh mi'menu horshus," permission was withdrawn from him to pass over the Jordan River. We can explain that Moshe was not allowed to be the bnei Yisroel's leader any more because he could no longer relate to their lower level of functioning, which included many voluntary acts, "r'shus." "R'shus" was removed from Moshe and he was now in a different sphere. (Rabbi Yoseif Zvi of Ostrovtza in Birkas Yoseif)


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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