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{Originally posted to Rabbi Weinberg’s website, The Foundation Stone}

I experience a tinge of sadness when I read the opening verse in this week’s portion, “You are standing today, all of you, before God, your Lord (Deuteronomy 29:9).” Rashi, bothered by Moses finding it necessary to inform the people they were standing, quotes a Midrash, “When the people heard the frightening litany of curses in the previous portion, they were frightened, and doubted their future. Moses comforted them, saying that despite all their sins, they were still standing before God.”


It is sad that in the moment when Moses begins his farewell, gently guiding the people in the transition of from his leadership to Joshua’s, Moses, once again, has to reassure the people. That tinge of sadness is less for Moses than for the people walking away from this final gathering wondering why they had used their final moments with their great leader to ask more of him rather than offering their gratitude and acknowledgement of all they had received from him. I did not want my final moments with my father zt”l to be an imposition on him, my asking him for reassurance. I wanted to use those last few minutes to offer a gift. I wanted him to see that he would live on through me.

I know, first hand, of such gifts. This past Wednesday evening I was studying the Book of Joshua with a group of extraordinary women. I barely had a chance to complete a thought before they took over, expanding and applying each idea, asking challenging questions, and taking us deeper than I believed possible into each thought. I was receiving a profound message that my ideas were simply seeds that would bear fruit far beyond me. I received a priceless gift, the same gift I wanted to be my farewell to my father, the gift, I imagine, the people wanted to give Moses. A gift they eventually had an opportunity to present to Moses.

“Moses went and spoke these words to all of Israel (31:1).” After the people returned home from the final gathering, Moses went to each tent in the camp to say goodbye.

I imagine returning home from the final gathering, disappointed that I needed Moses to reassure me, asking him for yet more, wishing I had, at least, acknowledged his effect on my life. The doorbell rings, and there is Moses. I welcome him into my home, and rather than offer tea and cake, I present him with a gift. I tell him how I will use all he taught me, celebrating the eternal impact of his work. My final private moment with Moses is not sad, but a joyous sharing of our connection.

We stand in the final moments of 5776, prepared to transition to 5777. These are perfect moments to offer our gift to God, honoring all we have gained over the past year, and how we intend to apply that growth in the future, using the coming year to grow in ways yet unimaginable to us.

Rosh Hashanah is the “Birthday of the World,” the Anniversary of Creation. We can enter this Day of Creation with our hands full. Is there a more precious gift to bring to the King’s inauguration?

The Foundation Stone is pleased to offer an online link or a better quality flash drive with the videos of our Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur Seminar. Please email [email protected] to order, or for more information.

Shabbat Shalom, and Shanah Tovah,


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Rabbi Simcha L. Weinberg, is founder and President of the leading Torah website, The Foundation Stone. Rav Simcha is an internationally known teacher of Torah and has etablished yeshivot on several continents.