At the end of Parshat Haazinu, God tells Moshe to go up to Mt. Nevo to see the Land of C’naan. God then tells him (Dvarim 32:50):
And die on the mountain where you will ascend, and be gathered to your people…
We learn a lesson from God’s burial of Moshe in the Talmud, Sotah 14a:
Rabbi Chama the son of Rabbi Chanina said: What is the meaning of that which is written (Dvarim 13:5) “Hashem, your God, you shall follow.” Is it possible for a human being to follow the Shechina, Divine Presence? But it has already been said (Dvarim 4:24) “For Hashem, your God- He is a consuming fire.” Rather, the mitzvah to follow God means that we should emulate the attributes of the Holy One, Blessed is He.
Just as He clothes the naked, as it is written (Breisheet 3:21) “And Hashem, God made for Adam and his wife skin garments, and He clothed them”, you too shall clothe the naked. The Holy One, Blessed is He visited the sick, as it is written (Breisheet 18:1) “God appeared to him (Avraham) in Elonei Mamre” (on the third day after his circumcision); you too shall visit the sick. The Holy One, Blessed is He, comforted mourners, as it is written (Breisheet 25:11) “And it was after the death of Avraham that God blessed Yitzchak his son,” you too should comfort mourners. The Holy One, Blessed is He, buried the dead, as it is written (Dvarim 34:6) “He buried him (Moshe) in the valley,” you too should bury the dead.
What can we do today to walk in God’s ways?
I just saw a beautiful statement by Joshua Becker of becomingminimalist.com:
Rather than defining success by the brand of clothing we can afford, may we find it in the number of people that we have helped clothe.
Due to Covid, visiting the sick can be challenging right now. However, a phone call, a gift left on their doorstep or help with picking up groceries while someone is in quarantine can make a world of difference.
In Israel, Bituach Leumi, The National Insurance Institute pays the burial expenses for every Israeli who dies and is buried in Israel.
In the New York area, The Hebrew Free Burial Association performs Chesed Shel Emet, the ultimate act of loving kindness (as the deceased are unable to repay kindness) as they assure that every Jew, regardless of financial means or religious affiliation receives a dignified, traditional Jewish funeral and burial.
May we keep these character traits of God in mind and do what we can to emulate God and help the most vulnerable members of society.