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ויהושע בן נון מלא רוח חכמה כי סמך משה את ידיו עליו

Yehoshua bin Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, because Moshe had laid his hands upon him. (34:9)

Simply, this means that Yehoshua had achieved the pinnacle of distinction, the apex of wisdom, as a result of the spiritual generosity of his quintessential Rebbe, Moshe Rabbeinu. How does one demonstrate his gratitude to such a Rebbe? How does a student pay back a Rebbe who has devoted himself to his utmost care, to developing him and bringing him to such a position of distinction? In Yehoshua’s case, it was almost impossible, since as soon as Moshe transferred the reins of leadership to Yehoshua – Moshe died. How could Yehoshua ever show his gratitude to Moshe? How do we…

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וישכן ישראל בטח בדד

Thus, Yisrael shall dwell secure, solitary. (33:28)

Bilaam harasha, the wicked, whose curses turned into blessing, made a similar statement concerning Klal Yisrael. Hein am levadad yishkon, “Behold! It is a nation that will dwell in solitude” (Bamidbar 23:9). Is there a difference between the two? Apparently, they both underscore the importance of Klal Yisrael living in solitude and not comingling with the nations of the world. Second, why did Moshe Rabbeinu specifically choose the importance of solitude as the blessing that would ensure the growth of Klal Yisrael as a Torah nation? Horav Leizer Brody, Shlita, observes distinctions between Moshe’s blessing and that of Bilaam. Bilaam…

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תורה צוה לנו משה מורשה קהלת יעקב

The Torah that Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the Congregation of Yaakov. (33:4)

The Torah belongs to the Jewish People. It is our inalienable possession, having been transmitted throughout time from generation to generation, heralding back to the Revelation at Sinai and continuing on until the advent of Moshiach Tziddkeinu. How profound is this statement! Yet, it is the first sentence that a father teaches his child as soon as the child is able to speak. The child understands very little at this tender age. Nonetheless, Chazal (Succah 42a) felt it important to convey this message to the child, so that it would become ingrained in his mind via the constant oral repetition….

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ויראהו ד' את כל הארץ

And Hashem showed him the entire Land. (34:1)

The mission of Moshe Rabbeinu on earth was complete. He blessed his nation and prayed for the people, and then, as Hashem’s faithful servant, he ascended the mountain, following Hashem’s directive. Hashem then showed him the entire length and breadth of Eretz Yisrael and the entire panorama of history which was connected to each place that he saw. The history of our people is intricately tied to our Land. Hashem showed Moshe Eretz Yisrael in its ups and downs, from the height of prosperity and good fortune to the oppression and persecution under future rulers. Ramban writes that Hashem was…

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וימת שם משה עבד ד'

So Moshe, servant of Hashem, died there. (34:5)

When the Chafetz Chaim was niftar, passed away, on Elul 24, 1934, Klal Yisrael was thrown into collective mourning. The preeminent tzaddik hador, saint of the generation, his impact was felt throughout the entire Torah world. During the year of mourning, Horav Elchanan Wasserman, zl, primary student of the Chafetz Chaim, had occasion to be in England. He was asked to eulogize his revered Rebbe, to render an appreciation of his unique personality, his saintly spiritual demeanor, his extraordinary achievements on behalf of Klal Yisrael. Rav Elchanan spoke inspiringly about his Rebbe. The following is an excerpt of his hesped,…

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ויתמו ימי בכי אבל משה

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

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….

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ולכל המורא הגדול אשר עשה משה לעיני כל ישראל

And by all the awesome power that Moshe performed before the eyes of all Yisrael. (34:12)

Times change; people change; society and culture change. Change impacts upon our lives to the point that what had been right for one generation might not be right for the following generation. Mentalities change, and the new generation might have a different perspective, a varied approach to life. Different needs require different approaches. Those who are charged with teaching Torah to each ensuing generation has to adjust, adopt new skills and new methods, because their charges are of a different generation. Horav Nissan Alpert, zl, posits that this is why Moshe Rabbeinu shattered the Luchos, Tablets, right before the very…

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ברוך מבנים אשר יהי רצוי אחיו וטבל בשמן רגלו

Of Asher he said, the most blessed of children is Asher; he shall be pleasing to his brothers, and dip his feet in oil. (33:24)

What made Asher so special that he was considered “the most blessed of children”? Horav Shlomo Levenstein, Shlita, quotes Lechem Lefi HaTaf who explains that the word, shmeinah, richness, which Yaakov Avinu uses to describe Asher – Mei Asher shmeinah lachmo, “From Asher- his bread will have richness” (Bereishis 49:20), – is a reference to Asher’s land which will be so rich in olive trees that it will flow with oil like a fountain. The word shmeinah is comprised of the same letters which comprise the word Mishnah. This alludes to the true “richness” of Asher; his tribe was devoted…

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וימת שם משה עבד ד'

So Moshe, servant of Hashem, died there. (34:5)

The Talmud Kiddushin 22a states that before an eved Ivri, Hebrew bondsman, can have his ear bored with an awl, so that he be allowed to continue his servitude beyond the normal six years, he must twice say the required words, “I love my master, my wife, and my children. I shall not go free!” Since the vernacular in the Torah is, V’im amor yomar ha’eved, “But if the bondsman shall say” (Shemos 21:5), the words, amor yomar, imply that he says this twice. In his commentary to the Talmud, Horav Elchanon Wasserman, zl, (Kovetz Shiurim) cites the words of…

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ויקבר אתו בגי הארץ מואב מול בית פעור ולא ידע איש את קבורתו עד היום הזה

He buried him in the depression, in the land of Moav, opposite Bais-Peor, and no one knows his burial place to this day. (34:6)

Chazal teach that Moshe Rabbeinu’s grave had been ready for him since the six days of creation. Furthermore, his burial place has never been revealed. The fact that his burial place is one of the ten miraculous phenomena created during twilight on Erev Shabbos of the sixth day of creation endows it with a supernatural makeup. Thus, it has never been discovered. Rashi explains that Moshe was buried opposite Peor in order to atone for the incident of mass immorality which took place there.  The sin committed with the pagan women of Moav undermines the very underpinnings of our faith….

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