One of the hardest things that I encounter as a Biblical Hebrew teacher is to say goodbye to my students at the end of the course. After teaching them for 30 lessons of Biblical Hebrew, after I give them the paddles to swim in the beautiful river of the Hebrew Language- it is not easy to say the word Goodbye. Sometimes we meet every week on the Webinar or maybe in a new course if the time is right for us. Today we will discuss the separation of Moses from the people of Israel,as we can find in the Hebrew Bible, in Deuteronomy 31:1-6-
" וַיֵּלֶךְ, מֹשֶׁה; וַיְדַבֵּר אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, אֶל-כָּל-יִשְׂרָאֵל. וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם, בֶּן-מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה אָנֹכִי הַיּוֹם--לֹא-אוּכַל עוֹד, לָצֵאת וְלָבוֹא; וַיהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי, לֹא תַעֲבֹר אֶת-הַיַּרְדֵּן הַזֶּה. יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא עֹבֵר לְפָנֶיךָ, הוּא-יַשְׁמִיד אֶת-הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ--וִירִשְׁתָּם; יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, הוּא עֹבֵר לְפָנֶיךָ, כַּאֲשֶׁר, דִּבֶּר יְהוָה. וְעָשָׂה יְהוָה, לָהֶם, כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לְסִיחוֹן וּלְעוֹג מַלְכֵי הָאֱמֹרִי, וּלְאַרְצָם--אֲשֶׁר הִשְׁמִיד, אֹתָם. וּנְתָנָם יְהוָה, לִפְנֵיכֶם; וַעֲשִׂיתֶם לָהֶם--כְּכָל-הַמִּצְוָה, אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִי אֶתְכֶם. חִזְקוּ וְאִמְצוּ, אַל-תִּירְאוּ וְאַל-תַּעַרְצוּ מִפְּנֵיהֶם: כִּי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, הוּא הַהֹלֵךְ עִמָּךְ--לֹא יַרְפְּךָ, וְלֹא יַעַזְבֶךָּ"
" So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and the LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’ It is the LORD your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as the LORD has spoken. The LORD will do to them just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them. The LORD will deliver them up before you, and you shall do to them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
At the age of 120, Moses describes to his people the future to come. G-d will give them the promised land with the help of his substitute Joshua, whose name means G-d will redeem you. He can't help them anymore, he helped them to cross the red sea, he took them out of Egypt, but he won’t enter into the land of Canaan. This is the limit or as The Doors sang – “This is the end, beautiful friend"
If the people of Israel will be brave enough , nothing will stop them from enjoying the land that G-d had promised to their fathers.
The second part of Moses' speech relates to Joshua, as written:
" וַיִּקְרָא מֹשֶׁה לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ, וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו לְעֵינֵי כָל-יִשְׂרָאֵל חֲזַק וֶאֱמָץ--כִּי אַתָּה תָּבוֹא אֶת-הָעָם הַזֶּה, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָה לַאֲבֹתָם לָתֵת לָהֶם; וְאַתָּה, תַּנְחִילֶנָּה אוֹתָם. וַיהוָה הוּא הַהֹלֵךְ לְפָנֶיךָ, הוּא יִהְיֶה עִמָּךְ--לֹא יַרְפְּךָ, וְלֹא יַעַזְבֶךָּ; לֹא תִירָא, וְלֹא תֵחָת."
" Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with these people into the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8)
If the leader will have fear in his heart the mission won’t be completed. Joshua mustn't show any sign of fear, concern or worry. He needs to have the courage, he needs to trust G-d.This is the only way to conquer the land. The third part of the speech is dedicated to the priests of Israel, the sons of Aharon. Their function is to maintain and keep the Torah of G-d alive and vivid even after Moses is dead, as we can see in Deuteronomy 31:9-13-
" וַיִּכְתֹּב מֹשֶׁה, אֶת-הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת, וַיִּתְּנָהּ אֶל-הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּנֵי לֵוִי, הַנֹּשְׂאִים אֶת-אֲרוֹן בְּרִית יְהוָה; וְאֶל-כָּל-זִקְנֵי, יִשְׂרָאֵל. וַיְצַו מֹשֶׁה, אוֹתָם לֵאמֹר: מִקֵּץ שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים, בְּמֹעֵד שְׁנַת הַשְּׁמִטָּה--בְּחַג הַסֻּכּוֹת. בְּבוֹא כָל-יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֵרָאוֹת אֶת-פְּנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בַּמָּקוֹם, אֲשֶׁר יִבְחָר: תִּקְרָא אֶת-הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת, נֶגֶד כָּל-יִשְׂרָאֵל--בְּאָזְנֵיהֶם. הַקְהֵל אֶת-הָעָם, הָאֲנָשִׁים וְהַנָּשִׁים וְהַטַּף, וְגֵרְךָ, אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ--לְמַעַן יִשְׁמְעוּ וּלְמַעַן יִלְמְדוּ, וְיָרְאוּ אֶת-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, וְשָׁמְרוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת, אֶת-כָּל-דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת. וּבְנֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדְעוּ, יִשְׁמְעוּ וְלָמְדוּ--לְיִרְאָה, אֶת-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם: כָּל-הַיָּמִים, אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם חַיִּים עַל-הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם עֹבְרִים אֶת-הַיַּרְדֵּן שָׁמָּה, לְרִשְׁתָּהּ."
"So Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law. Their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live on the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”
The fourth part of this speech along with all of the above will be discussed on our next Webinar,22/12/11, Thursday evening 08:00 P.M Eastern time.
I am waiting to see all of you there, and meanwhile, I will say Goodbye!