Parashat V'Zot HaBerakhah
This week’s reading marks the end of the book of Devarim, the Five Books of Moses, and most tragically, the life of Moshe himself. In the liturgical reading of the Torah, V’Zot HaBerakhah is not read on its own on Shabbat, instead it is read on Simchat Torah, where it is immediately succeeded by the reading of Parashat Bereishit. The difficult experience of concluding the reading of the Torah is softened by the knowledge that the Torah does not really end; we just roll it back to the beginning and start again. However, this is not the case for the life of Moshe; time rolls in just one direction. The pain of the death of Moshe is real, and we experience no immediate resurrection. How are we to think of the great tragedy of Moshe’s life, his dying before entering the Land and completing his life’s mission? How did Moshe himself think about and deal with it?