V’Zot HaBracha – The final words of Moshe – a blessing to the people

Moshe was described as a “man of G-d” and his blessing was “bestowed on the children of Israel before his death”. Rashi wrote that it was the last opportunity Moshe had, and Sforno added that a blessing is more effective when given just before death, as the soul is then more detached from anything material.

 

He introduced his blessing by praising G-d and concluded in a similar manner. The pattern is repeated in the Shmoneh Esrei prayer. Moshe began with the moment at Sinai that G-d sent His Shechinah (Divine Presence) to dwell among the Jews forever. R’ Eli Munk wrote that when G-d gave us the Torah on Mt Sinai, He imbued every Jew’s personality with a sacred flame that has never been extinguished. Rashi commented that because the Torah is our heritage, we have taken hold of it and won’t let it go. Even an individual who was attached to the Torah and then departed from it, need not be ashamed on his return, for he is coming back to the heritage of his ancestors.

 

Before blessing the individual tribes, Moshe used the phrase “the tribes of Israel in unity”. Rashi commented that when Jews unite and work together, and there is peace among them, then G-d is their King, but not when there are disputes.

 

Moshe ended his blessing with “ Fortunate are you, O Israel: Who is like you, O people delivered by G-d, the Shield of your help, Who is the Sword of your grandeur; your foes will try to deceive you but you will trample their haughty ones”. This clearly states the connection between G-d and Israel, and the importance of the relationship when survival is at stake, when dealing with enemies. Our strength comes from remembering who delivered us from Egypt, and the Red Sea, from the desert into the promised land, and transformed us from slaves into a people.

 

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With the upcoming Breishit, we will have a new Parasha contributor.  Thanks, David, for your wonderfully thought provoking and illuminating weekly commentaries over the past 2 years.

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