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Parashat Vayeilech - 5776

My friends,

This week's Parasha begins with these words:

"Moses went and spoke these things to all Israel." (Deuteronomy 31:1)

Moses tells the Children of Israel that today is his 120th birthday, and that he will no longer be their leader, as G-d had told him that he will not enter the Promised Land. The next 4 chapters which conclude both the Book of Deuteronomy and the Torah were told by Moses on his last day in this world.

One may ask: What is meant by 'Moses went'? Where did he go? Some commentaries explain that he left the camp of the Levites and went to the people. Others read this verse to mean that the words of Moses went into the hearts of all the Israelites. That's what is meant by "Moses went to all Israel".

On the last day of his life, Moses took leave for the last time from his people by walking among them and continuing to teach them. Moses will die at the end of that day and, as the Torah states, no one will ever know where he was buried.

It would seem that every time we study Torah and take its words into our hearts, it is as if Moses is there, teaching us the Torah. As long as we keep studying the Torah and keep its commandments, Moses lives among us, in our hearts.

This is a special Shabbat - Shabbat Shuvah, the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur - a time for us to complete our Teshuva, our repentance, our return, so that we can enter Yom Kippur, cleansed of our shortfalls.

Wishing you Leshanah Tovah Tikatevu veTechatemu,

Avram