• Maverick (Avigdor) Peters

Parshas Vayelech 2018: Effort is Everything

It was Moshe Rabbeinu’s final moments as he continued to inspire and encourage the nation to fulfill Hashem’s Torah.

Moshe’s successor and star pupil, Yehoshua was to take over after his passing and lead the people into the land of Israel. Hashem assured Yehoshua, “Be strong and courageous! For you will bring the jewish people to the land that I have sworn them.” (Deuteronomy 31:23)

Moshe, as we recall, wasn't allowed in Israel. The most he was allowed was a view from a mountain top where he could see the land in its glory but to enter, he was forbidden. Back in Parshas Chukas, Moshe had disobeyed Hashem. Hashem commanded Moshe when the people were dying of thirst, to “speak” to the rock of Miriam. Yet, Moshe instead struck the rock. Much discussion has ensued from this incident as to why Moshe hit the rock versus speaking to it. (A discussion for another time). The consequences for this mistake were extreme as Moshe was no longer able to enter the promised land.

There is another understanding why Moshe wasn't permitted in the promised land.

We are taught, had Moshe entered into the land, his profound holiness would have altered two things. 1. The conquest of the land would have been far too easy. 2. There would be zero difficulty when it came to refining a person and the world.

As we know, the purpose of life is to grow and become close to Hashem. Had Moshe gone into Israel with the people, his intense aura of kedsuha (holiness) mixed with the holiness of the land of Israel would have been so extraordinary that the people would simply have no choice but to always do the right thing.

What’s the problem with that? Wouldn’t we all be better off if everyone did the right thing with nothing holding us back?

Yes, Hashem in His kindness wants to shower us with blessing and goodness. However, He wants us to earn in. If Moshe Rabbeinu would’ve led the people further, he would have eliminated the effort component from everyone’s mission in life. This, Hashem didn't want.

How many times have we heard of someone who won the lottery (BIG TIME) and then weren't happy afterwards? Hashem, by taking Moshe from us “prematurely” was teaching us this lesson. The best things in life take hard work and effort. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. This isn't an easy lesson but it’s important and if we can come to understand that Hashem took Moshe away from us, (forfeiting a world of spiritual perfection) then surely this is a lesson we need to keep in mind.

Have a wonderful Shabbos and weekend!

Maverick V. Peters

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