Wednesday, September 19, 2007

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The End

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

A dvar Torah for Deuteronomy 33 - Vezos Haberachah.

This week we conclude the five books of the Torah. When we look at the closing line of each book of the Torah, we see that it sums up the essence of that book.

The book of Genesis (Bereishith) ends by saying, Yosef died at the age of 110 years; they embalmed him and he was placed in a coffin in Egypt. [vi] We see so much from this one line. Yosef's death sums up the forefathers and foremothers, as he lived at the end of that period. The Tribal period closed with his passing, and the period of history identified by the enslavement of the Children of Israel in Egypt dawned. Yosef's embalming hints that we have not seen the last of his story. Something more was to happen to him.

The book of Exodus (Shemot) ends with, For the cloud of Hashem would be on the Mishkan by day, and fire would be on it at night, before the eyes of all of the House of Israel throughout their journeys.[vii] This sums up the most important aspects of this book and the period of our history that it records. The essential content of the book of Shemot is the Jews going out into freedom and their wandering in the wilderness, with Hashem's glory as a guide.

The last sentence of the book of Leviticus (Vayikra) reads, ג€ These are the commandments that Hashem commanded Moses to the Children of Israel on Mount Sinai.ג€ [viii] And the essence of this book is the learning of God's commandments.

The last line of the book of Numbers (Bamidbar) reads, These are the commandants and the ordinances that Hashem commanded through Moses to the Children of Israel in the Plains of Moav, at the Jordan, by Jericho. [ix] Again, the last line points to the essence of the book by mentioning the commandments we learned from Moshe, and tells us that at this time we were standing at the end of our journey in the wilderness, ready to ascend into the holy land.

And the final book of the Torah, Deuteronomy (Devarim), ends with, Never again has there arisen a prophet like Moshe whom Hashem had known face to face [x] This points to Moshe's unique role in the history of the world and what he did for the Children of Israel. This sums up the books that are called, The Five Books of Moses.

Now comes the most important question of all:

What sentence is going to sum up your life? Surely there is going to be one. Maybe you do not know who is going to write it, but it is going to be written. What would you like it to say?

The truth is, we are writing this sentence with our deeds today.

[i] Pirke Avot 4:22
[ii] Berakoth 8a
[iii] Duet 34:5
[iv] Gen 1:3
[v] Gen 2:7
[vi] Gen 50:26
[vii] Ex 40:38
[viii] Lev 27:34
[ix] Num 36:13
[x] Deut 34:10

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