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Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | This Week's Parsha


"It's not in heaven, to say, "Who can ascend to the heaven for us and take it for us, so that we can listen to it and perform it?"......................Rather, the matter is very near to you- in your mouth and your heart- to perform it." (30:11-14)

I would like to understand this verse in an original fashion, Bezrat Hashem. When Moses was declaring this verse to the Jewish people, he was actually referring to himself with the intent of trying to teach the Jewish people a very valuable lesson. How so? Moses was not permitted to enter the land of Israel, and was to die on the other side of the Jordan river. This caused him much distress. We find a very fascinating statement in Sotah 16b,as follows:" Rabbi Simlai expounded: Why did Moses desire to enter the land of Israel? Because Moses wanted to fulfill the many Mitzvoth that are specifically pertinent to the Land of Israel.Therefore, G-d said to him I will consider it as if you performed them......................................" (Please refer to Sotah 16b for further details. I just paraphrased it in short.) When Moses was denied entry into Israel, the Mitzvoth of the land of Israel seemed to be as far as the heavens, namely beyond his immediate reach. Yet, G-d made it as if he fulfilled them vicariously as expounded by Rabbi Simlai. The secret formula as to how this can be done is contained in verse 30:14. When the verse says that it is "in your mouth",its referring to Torah study for surely Moses studied the Mitzvoth of the Land of Israel, and when the verse states that "its in your heart to do" its referring to Moses' resolve to fulfill Hashem's Mitzvoth to the utmost degree. Perhapes, we too can learn how to add many more Mitzvoth for ourselves vicariously by studying the Torah, and earnestly resolving to fulfill the Mitzvoth to the best of our ability simultaneously. The formula is there for us to use, why don't we grab the opportunity? Moses knew personally the distance between him and the heavens, yet found a way to transcend his shortcomings through study and resolve. Perhapes, this is precisely the lesson the Torah is trying to convey to us. Have a good Shabbos...........................................................................


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