Today I am 120 years old and I can no longer come and go. So says Moses at the start of Va-yeilech, as he approaches the end of his long discourse to the people. How can Moshe rabbeinu die? He has been with us for so long, all the way from Sh’mot. He has guided us, admonished us for our shortcomings, pleaded for us before God. It seems inconceivable that he should leave us, but leave us he must, for he is but mortal and another leader must replace him, one suited to the demands that will face the people once they cross the Jordan. Soon the Torah will be complete and the history of its survival among us will begin. Yet the Torah is an open book and completion is really just a prelude to a new beginning.
Moses has not reached the end yet, however. He has been continuing to proclaim the laws. He has reminded us of the choice we face between blessings and curses. He has told us we are becoming a nation. He has reminded us of all that God has done for us, but made it clear that we must make our own history, for nothing is preordained, though it may be foreseen. Moses prophesies disobedience and the dire consequences this will bring, but there is also hope of redemption. Interestingly, all the haftorot corresponding to the final sedrot are full of hope, suggesting that, while we may fail repeatedly, God will never totally abandon us.
Now listen. Ha’azinu is upon us and “My lesson shall drop like rain, my saying shall flow down like the dew – like a downpour on the herb, like a shower on the grass.” How lucky is Isaac Feldman to have Moses’ Song for his Bar Mitzvah piece. And how lucky are we to be able to hear the Song proclaimed by Isaac. Hearing will be believing. And to hear you must come along at 10.30. Harvey Kurtzfield and Adam Feldman will be leading and supporting Isaac on this great day.
Wishing everyone well over the fast,