Parshat Vezot Habracha

Vezot Habracha is Moses’ blessing, delivered in the last day of his life, to the Israelites, tribe by tribe. It concludes poignantly with Moses’ death and his burial, seemingly by the hand of God, in the land of Moab, so that “to this day no one knows his burial place” (Deut. 34:6). The closing verses of the Torah are a tribute to the greatest leader and prophet the Israelites ever had, yet the ultimate accolade the Torah gives him is touching in its simplicity. He was “the man Moses” (Num. 12:3), “the servant of the Lord” (Deut. 34:5). The parsha, read not as an ordinary Shabbat portion, but on the festival of Simchat Torah, is a profound commentary on mortality and the human condition. The Moses we encounter in the Torah is simply a human being made great by the task he was set and by the humility that made him supremely one through whom the word and power of God flowed.

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