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

Moses could no longer move around? How does a man who says, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I can no longer go out and come in,” manage to walk through the camps of all twelve tribes to say farewell?
The people of each neighborhood excitedly gather for this unprecedented visit and Moses begins his speech, “I am a 120 years old today and can’t move around that well.” I can picture a precocious child challenging him, “You seem to be doing a good job getting around. This is the first time we’ve seen you around here!”


I hear Moses explaining, “I’m far too old to get around as I do. My visit is to prove to you that my unusual strength doesn’t come from me; it comes from you. I will no longer be able to derive my strength from you now that Joshua is assuming leadership. I will have to rely on myself and will no longer be able to come and go. My strength is yours. My accomplishments are yours. This farewell visit is an acknowledgement and thank you.”

It is only after the people hear their great prophet and teacher acknowledge that his strength is theirs’ that he can teach his final commandment, “Write this song for yourselves.” Moses wants each of us to write a Torah, not as a book of laws or teachings, but as a song. The Song of Torah comes from us, the people, not Moses. He can present the Book, but it is the people who understand that all his great accomplishments derived from them, despite their failures, who write the Torah as a song. The Song of Torah is our composition. We are the conductors who guide God’s laws and teachings to play in harmony as a majestic symphony. “Give us our portion in Torah,” we pray each day. Each of us can find our perfect note, the Torah resonating in our souls. “We will become a unified group to fulfill Your will,” we will combine all our notes in perfect harmony filling the universe with the symphony of a creation that has learned that the music is ours.

We will recite the Confession ten times over Yom Kippur. The Talmud insists that Confession, Vidui, should be read as Todah, a Thanksgiving Offering. The music of confession is composed by our approach to the Vidui: A long list of terrible sins is played to terrifying music. A Confession as celebration of “I participate in the Song of Creation despite my failures,” is exhilarating; a Thanksgiving Symphony. It is this music that plays in the way we sing the Confession aloud to a joyous tune. It is this music that plays for the parade of the Kohen Gadol after he completes the Yom Kippur Temple service. It is the music to which the young women danced on Yom Kippur. It is the music of Torah. It is the same music to which Moses achieved so much. It is our music. It is the Song of Creation.

I wish each of you a joyous Yom Kippur on which you discover your note in Torah, your role in the Song of Creation, the music to which you can dance every day of the year.

Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tovah,