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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Devarim: Parashat Vayelech: Vayelech Moshe

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

This week's parasha begins with "Vayelech Moshe" ("Moshe went").

Where did he go? From the previous parasha we see that he had all of Bnei Yisrael gathered before him.

Ramban explains that after the previous parasha everyone had gone home. And here, Moshe, giving Bnei Yisrael respect, went to each of the sections of the tribes of Bnei Yisrael to say a final goodbye to them, as is tradition when one leaves.

Moshe then tells Bnei Yisrael that he is 120 years old and he can no longer lead Bnei Yisrael. Rashi explains that really Moshe Rabeynu was as strong now as he was when he first led Bnei Yisrael out of Egypt. So why does Rashi explains that "BECAUSE" Hashem told him not to go.

Ramban explains this pasuk slightly differently. He says that Moshe is giving reasons why he can no longer lead. He first says that he his old, 120 years and that Hashem told him he will no cross into Israel. But now we face the same issue Rashi had to answer. Moshe, in reality, was NOT a weak feeble 120 year old, but rather was strong and could still lead for years.

So how then did he tell Bnei Yisrael that he was weak? Moshe told Bnei Yisrael what he did only to make them feel positive about his departure. They did not know that Moshe was not weak.

When a leader departs they are usually worried about their own honor. However, Moshe Rabeynu teaches us differently. Moshe himself lowered himself to greet and say goodbye to the people. Moshe also told them that he was weak in mind and body so that he could not do the job anymore. Moshe also said that Yehoshua is best fit for the position. As Moshe left his position as leader, he humbled himself, teaching Bnei Yisrael a final lesson.
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