Remembering Moses – In Memoriam of Mr. David M. Warren (Menachem Dovid ben Harav Yosef Z’L)
At the end of Israel’s forty year journey through the wilderness, as Moses neared his death, he tells Israel: “You have seen everything that G-d did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his slaves and to his land. The great trials that your eyes beheld, those great signs and wonders. However, G-d did not give you a heart to know, or eyes to see, or ears to hear, until this day." (Artscroll Translation; Deuteronomy 29: 1-3)
Until this day. Until this day, Israel had survived through the merit of its leader, Moses. But, on this day, as they fully realized Moses would not cross the Jordan River with them into Israel, the Jewish Nation finally understood they would have to survive on their own merits.
As the Midrash Rabba (Compilation of Jewish homiletic; 400 - 600 CE; Devarim Rabba 7:10) says, when Moses was about to die and Israel did not seek mercy on his behalf, Moses said, “One person was able to redeem an entire nation, an army of 600,000, from the sin of the Golden Calf, but a nation of 600,000 cannot redeem even one person.” The very nation, whose daily sustenance for forty years came through the merit of Moses, had neglected to pray on his behalf that he, too, should enter the Land of Israel.
Following the Mahrzu (Rabbi Ze’ev Vilf Einhorn 19th Century Vilna; See also Devarim Rabba 3:11), when Moses said, “Hear O’ Israel, today you are crossing the Jordan River (into the land of Israel)…” (Deuteronomy 9:1), Moses meant you but not me. You did not intercede on my behalf. You did not redeem me. And, now, you will have to survive on your own merits.
“However, G-d did not give you a heart to know, or eyes to see, or ears to hear, until this day." Despite everything you’ve witnessed, despite all your learning and understanding, despite reaching the highest levels of spirituality, you cannot know what it means to be responsible for yourself and others until you take action of responsibility.
A New Day – In Memoriam of Mr. Herman Brenman (Tzvi Hersh ben Moshe Z’L)
This day, G-d, commands you to perform these statutes and the laws (of the Torah), and you shall observe and perform them with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 21:16).”
Moses proclaimed this statement at the end of the fortieth year in the desert as the Jewish Nation was about to enter Israel.
The Midrash Tanchuma (Compilation of Jewis Homiletic; 400 CE – 600 CE; Kee Tavo 1) asks, “This day”? The Torah was given forty years earlier at Mount Sinai, just seven weeks after leaving Egypt.
The Tanchuma answers, “This day - On each day the Torah should be cherished, as if you received it today on Mount Sinai.” An individual should perform the commandments of the Torah with the utmost love, as if he had just received the Torah.