From the time my friend Miriam was a little girl, her heart was broken about the story of Moshe Rabbeinu, Moses our teacher. How was it possible that he could not enter the Land of Israel? He longed to cross the Jordan river and prayed 515 times about it. I beg you, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan. God would not hear of it: Speak no more to me of this matter. “Go up to this Mount Nebo / Har Nevo which is in the land of Moab, that is facing Jericho, and see the Land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel as a possession. For from afar, you will see the land, but you will not come there, to the land I am giving the children of Israel. And die on the mountain upon which you are climbing.”
Being so sad about Moshe’s situation, after moving to Israel, my friend decided to visit the place where he was last seen. It is a long trip. First she took a bus to the border crossing in Beit Shean, then bus again and last a taxi. She made the trip on the 7th of Adar, which occured Thursday February 22 this year, the day when Moshe was born and the day he also died, 120 years later.
After a weary 40 years in the desert, leading the Israelites to their destination, receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai, Moshe was opposite the Northern end of the Dead Sea. He said a loving goodbye to the Nation. He knew them all. He started to walk towards the mountain and climb the 1000 meter – 3,300 feet high Har Nevo. It was probably a clear day, so up on the top he had a panoramic view. He surveyed the Land from a distance. He saw the areas designated to the 12 tribes. He saw Jericho, the Dead Sea, the Jordan river, Jerusalem…. His life was completed, his task was fulfilled. Moshe did not die by the Angel of Death. He left this world through God’s presence, by a painless “kiss of death”. God himself took his soul on the 7th of Adar.
Miriam, my friend, was at the foot of Har Nevo. She has been there eight times. She has walked where Moshe walked and seen what Moshe saw. She is living in the Land he longed for. The valley was so welcoming, she felt so at peace with Moshe’s story and within herself. The scenes around the lower area are very pastoral with plenty of wild flowers this time of the year. She felt comforted that Moshe might have enjoyed their sweet fragrance, while walking up to the mountain. We know from the Midrash that Moshe passed away in the afternoon, at Mincha time. This time of the year, it is not too cold and not too hot. A peaceful time of the day and of the year. Maybe there were also shepherds with goats and sheeps like now? The animals has bells on their necks, which can be heard from far away. The shepherd of the Jewish people was a shepherd himself long before, when he was in Midian with his father-in-law Jethro and his wife Zippora.
There is a connection between Moshe Rabbeinu and Mashiach. When Mashiach comes he will have a spark of Moshe rabbeinu in his soul. Also, among the first to be resurrected are Moshe and Aaron, because they have to teach the Cohanim / the Jewish priests how to serve in the newly built Temple. “And no other prophet like Moses has arisen in Israel, who knew God face to face.”