Rabbi Rael Blumenthal


#Vaeschanan #תשפא #AhavasYisrael

In the aftermath of Tisha B'av, the Torah begins with the most heart wrenching of pesukim:

וָאֶתְחַנַּן אֶל ה׳... אֶעְבְּרָה נָּא וְאֶרְאֶה אֶת הָאָרֶץ הַטּוֹבָה אֲשֶׁר בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן

I begged Hashem at that time... Please let me go over and see the good land that is beyond the Jordan.

On this pasuk, the Medrash Rabba (ב:א) famously comments:

שהתפלל משה באותו הפרק חמש מאות וחמשה עשר פעמים

Moshe prayed five-hundred and fifteen prayers at that time (The numerical value of ואתחנן.)

We are used to the idea that Moshe Rabbeinu was not allowed into Eretz Yisrael. We are all aware of his desperate and repeated plea to be granted entry. But even a moment of consideration leaves us with the pain of Moshe's raw emotions. Surely Hashem loved him? Surely Moshe did Teshuva? Surely it was not beyond Hashem's capacity to forgive His most loyal and dedicated servant? This Parsha is theologically and emotionally challenging.

But the Medrash finds it challenging for a different and far more disturbing reason. On two occasions in Sefer Devarim, the Torah tells us that Moshe was hinting something much worse; something that his people did not understand: