Parashat Vaielech

In this parashah Moses bids farewell to the people, saying to them: “Today I am one hundred and twenty years old; I can neither come nor go, for God has said to me: ‘You shall not pass over the Jordan River. God will pass before you; He will destroy the nations before you and you will dislodge them. Yehoshua is the one who will go before you, just as God has said” For what reason does Moshe tell the people his age before he dies? Also, why does he use the term “I can no longer go or come”, would it not be better to say “I can no longer continue”? Finally, why does the Torah begin in the plural “AND HE SAID TO THEM today I am one hundred and twenty years old”, but continues in the singular: “God will go before YOU”? Nachmanides explains that Moses wanted to reassure the children of Israel that he no longer had the necessary strength to continue leading them, (even though he could have), so he told them his age. And it is for this same reason that he told them “I can no longer GO or COME” instead of “I can no longer continue”, expressing to them that, as the function of a true leader demands extraordinary effort for his fellow man, going back and forth to cover all his needs, he could no longer continue with the same intensity. And regarding the change from plural to singular, Moses wanted to tell them that God would go to the forefront of each one of them to take care of them. Moshe’s attitude before leaving this physical plane reveals his greatness as a human being, since many people, on their deathbed, worry about their sins, or about wasted opportunities. However, he had only one priority: the welfare of Bnei Yisrael, which leads us to reflect on the importance of looking for constant opportunities to care for the needs of others.