Today is a powerful spiritual day.
Haman who used the lottery (Pur) to pick a day when the Jews had Bad Luck or Mazel as it is called in Jewish Law tried to pick a day that was bad spiritually for the Jews.
They cast a pur, that is the lot.” A Tanna taught: When the lot fell on the month of Adar, he rejoiced greatly saying: The lot has fallen for me on the month in which Moses died. He did not know, however, that Moses died on the seventh of Adar and was born on the seventh of Adar. So today, Adar 7, is the Yahrtzeit of Moses who died in 1273 BCE (Jewish year 2488), on the same day of his birth 120 years earlier. (Consequently, “May you live to 120” has become a common Jewish blessing.)
Me’ or Einayim points out that Tetzaveh (our Torah portion this week) is (nearly) always read immediately before or after the seventh of Adar, which is Moshe’s (birthday and) yahrtzeit. So his name is missing from this parashah specifically, in mourning for our loss.
Moses was born in Egypt at a time when Pharaoh had decreed that all Jewish baby boys be drowned in the Nile River. His mother set him afloat in a reed basket, where he was — most ironically — discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter and brought to Pharaoh’s palace to be raised. When Moses matured, his heart turned to aid the Jewish people; he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Jew, and he fled to Midian where he married and had two sons. G-d spoke to Moses at the Burning Bush, instructing him to return to Egypt and persuade Pharaoh to “Let My people go.” Moses led the Jews through the ten plagues, the Exodus, and the splitting of the Red Sea. Seven weeks later, (on Shavuot) the Jews arrived at Mount Sinai and received the Torah, the only time in human history that an entire nation experienced Divine revelation. Over the next 40 years, Moses led the Jews through wanderings in the desert, and supervised the construction of the Tabernacle. Moses died before being allowed to enter the promised Land of Israel. He is regarded as the greatest prophet of all time. How Do We Know When Moses Died?
Moses died on the seventh of Adar.
The Talmud proves this as follows:
In Deuteronomy 34:8 we read that the Jews mourned for thirty days following Moses’ death in the Plains of Moab. This area borders Israel, just east of the Jordan River.
The book of Joshua begins with Gd’s command to bring the Jewish people across the Jordan River. G-d specifies that they are to cross in three days time. This instruction was given immediately after Moses died, meaning at the earliest possible opportunity after his death. This would have been following the thirty days of mourning.
In Joshua 4:19 we are told that the Jews crossed the river on the tenth of Nissan. If we subtract the three days between the command and actual crossing, plus the thirty days of mourning, we find the date of Moses’ passing is the seventh of Adar.
Incidentally, the seventh of Adar is also Moses’ birthday. This we derive from what Moses said on the day of his death Deuteronomy 31:2 “Today I am one hundred and twenty years old.Tetzaveh stands as an eternal tribute to Moses. It is the Torah’s own testimony to Moses’ greatness in relinquishing everything—including his bond with Torah—in order to preserve his bond with his people and restore them to their G-d.
This was the real Moses, so it is fitting to hear the Obituary of a fictional Moses:
Miriam Applebaum came into the newsroom to pay for her husband Moishe’s obituary. She was told by the newsman that it was a dollar a word and he remembered Moishe who worked in the building and wasn’t it too bad about him passing away.
Mrs. Applebaum thanked him for his kind words and bemoaned the fact that she only had two dollars. But she wrote out the obituary, “Moishe died.”
The newsman said he thought old Moishe deserved more and he’d give her five more words.
Mrs. Applebaum thanked him and rewrote the obituary: “Moishe died. Lots of chazerai for sale.”