Will the entire people arrive at their destination?

In Parshat Yitro, Moshe’s father in law advises Moshe to bring judges to help him out so that he doesn’t have to serve the entire nation alone. In this way, Moshe can share the burden as the smaller disputes will not have to be brought to him and he will be able to focus on the major issues.

Yitro then tells Moshe (Shmot 18:23):

If you do this — and God so commands you to do so — you will be able to endure; and this entire people, as well, shall arrive at its destination in peace.

Why does it say “and this entire people”, rather than “each person will arrive at his destination in peace.”

Kli Yakar answers that the verse refers to a general place that is unique to the entire nation as a whole, and that can only be the Land of Israel.

It says in Dvarim 16:20: “Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may thrive and occupy the land that the Lord, your God is giving you.”

Rashi explains: The appointment of honest judges is sufficient to merit to cause Israel to live and to settle them securely in their land. This is why it does not say “This entire people will dwell in its place in peace” rather it says “will arrive in peace.” It informs us that by virtue of appointing proper judges, this entire nation will arrive in peace at the place that is special to the entire nation that is the Land of Israel.

It says “will arrive” because they had not yet arrived there. The verse teaches that injustice corrupts the Land. The generation of the flood proves this. The Jews of the First Temple were exiled because of lack of justice, as it says, “Your rulers are rogues and associates of thieves, every one avid for presents and greedy for payments; They do not judge the case of the orphan and the widow’s cause never reaches them” (Yishayahu 1:23) and in the future “Zion will be redeemed with judgment, and those that return to her with righteousness” (Yishayahu 1:27).

In regard to Moshe, the verse says “You will be able to endure” (here in the desert). But the end of the verse “And also this entire people will arrive in its place in peace” excludes Moshe because it was already decreed that he would not enter the Land in any event, as it says (Shmot 6:1) “You will see what I will do to Pharaoh: For with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand will he shall drive them from his land.”

Rashi comments: You (Moshe) will see what will now be done to Pharaoh, but you will not see what will be done to the kings of the seven nations of Canaan when I will bring them (the Israelites) into the Land (of Israel).

We see from here that Moshe is unfortunately left out. While he started the process of bringing them out of Egypt, he is not able to bring them to their final destination.

We once again have the privilege to live as a nation in the Modern State of Israel. Some take it as a given while others spent their lives yearning to get here and appreciate every minute. The recent airport closures made us contemplate the fact that just as Moshe couldn’t get in even though he wanted to so badly, so too we can’t always take getting into Israel for granted.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
Related Topics
Related Posts
Comments