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Friday, September 14

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayeilech / Shuvah

At the beginning of parshas Vayeilech, Moshe proclaims to the people (31:2) "I am 120 years old on this day. I can no longer go out and come in, and HaShem has told me 'You shall not cross the Yardein.'"


Rashi comments that when Moshe says he can no longer "go out and come in," we know he could not possibly be referring to any physical deficiencies. His first interpretation is that Moshe is not referring to his ability to lead B'nei Yisrael - not that he is not able, but that he is not allowed. Rashi suggests that the rest of the pasuk is in fact an explanation of this statement. Moshe is saying "I can no longer lead you because HaShem has told me that I may not cross the Yardein."


The difficulty with this explanation is the use of the vuv hamosif – "vaShem amar eilai…" - the additive vuv which is usually meant to add something separate, rather than to imply causation.


Perhaps Moshe is indeed referring to his leadership as Rashi suggests initially, but is still making two separate statements. First, he conveys to B'nei Yisrael that his ultimate desire is to lead the people into the Promised Land. Alas, he has been told that he will not lead the people and Yehoshua will take over. But lest one think that it is Moshe's ambitions of grandeur and craving for honour that are fueling that desire, Moshe assures the people that he would have been more than happy to forgo his position of leadership and enter the Land as a layman while Yehoshua leads. All he wanted was just to enter Eretz Yisrael. But even this was not to be, for HaShem had told him that under no circumstances would he be crossing the Yardein. So in this pasuk, he is indeed making two separate statements relating to his desire to either bring or accompany the nation into Eretz Yisrael.

Have a good Shabbos and a gemar chasimah tov.

Eliezer Bulka

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