Va’etchannan: Moses‘ Mistake

Coffee Shop Rabbi

If we take it seriously, Parashat Va’etchannan („And I pleaded…“) is full of love so tough that it breaks the heart.

The parashah begins with Moses pleading to enter the Land. God answers roughly, „Enough!“ then directs him to go up Mount Pisgah (aka Mt. Nebo)  and take a good look at the Land, because he will not be allowed to enter. This passage troubles many who read it; on first reading it seems to be a punishment that far outstrips the crime.

After all, one of God’s early commands to Moses had to do with striking the Nile, and then striking a rock:

The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at…

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