Of all the verses of this week’s Parasha, one is branded in my mind more than others. It is Deuteronomy 32;52, where G-d tells Moshe:
“Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel."
Imagine coming very close to your life’s goal yet never fulfilling it. Imagine seeing your long-woven dream close to being realized and watcing it slipping away. How about running that marathon that you have been training to for months merely to find out that as close as you reach the finishing line, you will never get to it?
Must be awfully frustrating.
The above verse captures, in my view, the essence of that feeling, that sentiment. That bittersweet aftertaste is saturated with the emotions of grievance, irritation and desertion.
In 1992, on a trip to Jordan, I was standing where Moshe was when watching his dream fade away. I remember looking into the distance, seeing the Land I so love while feeling every fiber of my nationhood vibrating in me, bursting to break into an elating dance, the kind one experiences when one becomes united with the universe that surrounds us. So close yet so far away. So attainable yet unreachable. Almost touching it yet more evasive than ever.
I can still feel the tears welling in my eyes soothing the flames of fire that the dry wind and the burning desert sun ignited and fueled. The growing lump in my throat chokes and stifles the soundless shrieks in the face of the injustice committed on that mountain. The deafening silence that surrounds me threatens to devour me.
Unlike Moshe, I walked the Land, I planted trees, worked, tended and helped free it. I am one of his humble servants who swore to guard it, watch over my People and defend it for our posterity. How much luckier can one get?
I, along with many other members of our wonderful People pledge to carry Moshe’s legacy and continue to fulfill the dream he led us to realize.
And “Our journey is just beginning.” May it continue, and may we go from strength to strength as we resume our life’s mission and the fulfillment of his vision along this Holy Land.
Shanah Tova and Gmar Chatima Tovah