Moses's regrets

Moses understood that spirituality is not meant to be a selfish affair, and that one cannot leave the community behind – but that is easier said than done.

By FRANCIS NATAF
August 10, 2016 15:33
4 minute read.
Art by Pepe Fainberg

Art by Pepe Fainberg. (photo credit: PEPE FAINBERG)

 
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WHEN MOSES reached the end of his life, did he think of himself as a success or as a failure? He accomplished more than any human being before or after. Yet he failed to accomplish his goal of leading a model Jewish state in the land of Israel. One thing is clear: Moses went to the grave with serious regrets. And among those regrets, the greatest was likely directed at himself.

The main reason for Moses’s disappointment seems to revolve around the watershed spy incident – the report that discouraged the Jews from wanting to conquer the land and caused them to wander and die in the desert for forty years (Num. 13-14). Just by noting its central place at the beginning of Moses’s very first speech (Deut. (1:22- 26), we come to appreciate just how great its impact was on his consciousness. In this recapitulation of what happened, we find that Moses not only agreed to the popular suggestion to scout out the land, he was directly involved in its implementation as well (Deut. 1:23). True, God also agreed to the plan, meaning that Moses did not just go ahead without receiving Divine approval.

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