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ויתמו ימי בכי אבל משה

Then the days of tearful mourning for Moshe ended. (34:8)

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In the beginning of the pasuk, the Torah writes that the period of mourning for Moshe Rabbeinu lasted for thirty days. Why does it conclude with the words, Vayitmu yimei bechi eivel Moshe, “Then the days of tearful mourning for Moshe ended.” Once it stated that the period of mourning lasted for thirty days, it is obvious that, after thirty days, the mourning period had been concluded. The phrase vayitmu, “Then there ended,” appears redundant.

The HaKsav v’Hakabalah distinguishes between the words tamim and shalem, both which intimate completion. The word tamim, from which tam/va’yitmu is derived, implies qualitative completion. It implies perfection in the qualitative sense, such as a korban, animal offering, must be tamim, perfect, in the sense that there are no physical blemishes on its body. Shalem/shleimus, however, infers quantitative completion/perfection. When the Torah refers to the sins of the Emorites as not being shalem, complete, it means that the number of sins that has to be tallied has not been completed.

Thus, when the Torah informs us that the thirty day mourning period for Moshe had ended, it should have used the words vayishlemu (y’mei b’chi eivel Moshe), which would refer to the quantitative mourning for Moshe. Instead, it uses the word vayitmu, which bespeaks qualitative mourning, as if to say: the various mourning rituals required to mourn for Moshe had ended. Bathing, cutting hair and other prohibitions of this period was no longer forbidden. The actual mourning – the sadness, the grief, the feel of irreparable loss over their quintessential leader – did not end. It will never end! The void left by the passing of Moshe Rabbeinu cannot and will never be filled! Vayitmu – the qualitative, traditional ritual of mourning had come to an end. Shleimus – completion of mourning for Moshe, is impossible.

What a powerful lesson for us to absorb. In every generation, we mourn Moshe. This is especially crucial as we are mesayeim, complete, the Torah on Simchas Torah. Moshe Rabbeinu, our quintessential Rebbe – who was the medium for the giving and teaching of the Torah – is gone. What greater tribute can we make to his memory than to commence immediately with Sefer Bereishis. Moshe is very much alive in the Torah that we study.

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