Jude 3-4, 8-10
Day 19, Month 7, 5775; 21 October 2016
*I did not have time to write a Torah commentary this week for the Sukkot scriptures. This is an excerpt from my book “They Walked Toward the Promises.” I think it is fitting as we look to a new cycle, one which will take us a step further toward Home>
HaBrachah (This is the Blessing)
Moshe penned the last word of the scroll and delivered it to the Cohanim. He then turned to Y’hoshua and asked him to assemble the elders. As soon as they were assembled, he began to speak blessings over each of the tribes individually. While he was doing so, a strange yet comforting feeling came over him. It was as if he could see the words Israel had spoken so many years earlier coming from the past and uniting with his own words. As the words joined together, like the hooks which held the curtains of the Tabernacle, they took on a new life. It was as if the words were going forth to a time in the future and a people yet to be born.
With his last words, Moshe turned to face Mount N’vo. There was only one thing in the way between him and the mount, Y’hoshua. The two men stood staring at each other with eyes red from tears. The elders and people who had gathered stood in utter silence.
Finally, Moshe spoke, “Be bold, strong, and of good courage. Make me proud. Make Him proud!”
The two men embraced. Through his tears, Y’hoshua could see his destiny in the distance, the Promised Land. Moshe could see his own, very different path, Mount N’Vo.
In his flesh, Y’hosha did not want to let go. In his spirit, he knew he must. He had to let go of what was in order to obtain that which lies ahead. With all the emotional strength he could muster, Y’hoshua loosened his embrace. Through the lump in his throat, he finally mounted the words, “Yes sir,” then stepped aside.
Moshe reached down and picked up his staff. It all of a sudden struck him as funny; all these years, he had never really given any thought to the fact that he still picked it up by the tail end, the same as he had done in Egypt. Somewhere inside him, he still remembered being in the presence of Pharaoh and his magicians when it had been turned into a serpent. A slight smile came to his face. Not even Y’hoshua would ever know what that smile was all about. Moshe nodded to Y’hoshua, his people, and then took his first step to his end.
The whole camp stood and watched as Moshe began to climb Mount N’vo. Each person was silent, lost in thought, though none more than Y’hoshua.
It was a hard climb, and Moshe was exhausted when he finally reached the top of the mount. He felt as if his feet had truly taken their last steps. He noticed an outcropping of rock. In the center was a rock which looked almost like a couch. Moshe took it as a welcomed invitation from Him to rest. As he sat down, the view was more than he could take in all at once. His people dotted the ground much like the stars dotted the sky. He looked to the staff in his hand and pulled it up in his lap. The carvings he had done through so many years were like an autobiography before him; and Moshe stared at each mark, taking time to remember the event that had caused it.
Finally, Moshe looked to the heavens, “You have been a faithful friend. Thank you! Take care of them, these stars of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “
As the sun began to set, Moshe’s eyes were drawn to the horizon. He had never seen a day so clear. As Moshe gazed from north to south and to the sea to the west, he began to remember again the stories his Abba and Emma had passed down to him. He thought of Adam and Eve, wondering just which hill they were buried on. The Garden was — is somewhere out there. He thought of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many others. He longed to meet them in this World to come.
As Moshe took his last, longing look at the land of His people, a particular mountain in the Northwest drew Moshe’s gaze. It was the same mountain he had noticed days before. The mountain seemed to be calling to him. It was as if his spirit knew something, but his mind could just not comprehend. With the thought of that mountain, Moshe leaned back on the rock behind him and his soul continued on to join in the sleep of his fathers.
Elohim would bury Moshe that day on Mount N’vo. The mountain stands as a reminder of the man called, “Yah’s friend.”
Y’hoshua continued to stare at the mountain, unknowing of Moshe’s passing. Eventually, Caleb walked up behind him and placed a hand on Y’hoshua’s shoulder, “We have to move on. “
“I know,” is all Y’hoshua could say. He turned toward his tent to be alone with his thoughts.
The people mourned Moshe’s death in the plains of Mo’av for thirty days. When their days of mourning came to an end, they began the process of breaking camp, looking to Y’hoshua to lead them the rest of the way.