Super-Heroes: Heartbreak for Moses!

In this weeks Torah Portion (Vayelech – Deut 31:1-30), we read about Moses last day and how the Almighty tells Moses that he is about to die, after the last 40 years leading the Nation of Israel in the desert.

God calls both Moses and Joshua into the Tent of Meeting (where His presence was most revealed; most real and ‘physical’ or felt). Along with ‘passing the baton’ to Joshua and encouraging Joshua as the new leader of His People, God informs Moses that the people will fail God (for a time) and God will hide His face from them!

Here is what He shared:

Deut 31:

“15 ADONAI appeared in the tent in a column of cloud; the column of cloud stood above the entrance to the tent.

16 ADONAI said to Moshe,

“You are about to sleep with your ancestors. But this people will get up and offer themselves as prostitutes to the foreign gods of the land where they are going. When they are with those gods, they will abandon me and break my covenant which I have made with them.

17 Then my anger will flare up, and I will abandon them and hide my face from them. They will be devoured, and many calamities and troubles will come upon them. Then they will ask, ‘Haven’t these calamities come upon us because our God isn’t here with us?’

18 But I will be hiding my face from them because of all the evil they will have done in turning to other gods.

19 “Therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the people of Isra’el. Have them learn it by heart, so that this song can be a witness for me against the people of Isra’el.

20 For when I have brought them into the land I swore to their ancestors, flowing with milk and honey; and they have eaten their fill, grown fat and turned to other gods, serving them and despising me, and broken my covenant;

21 then, after many calamities and troubles have come upon them, this song will testify before them as a witness, because their descendants will still be reciting it and will not have forgotten it. For I know how they think even now, even before I have brought them into the land about which I swore.”

The song that Moses writes for the people ends in hope (see Deuteronomy 32), with

“43 Sing out, you nations, about his people! For he will avenge the blood of his servants. He will render vengeance to his adversaries and make atonement for the land of his people.”

The Tanakh of course, shares in many places that despite all their wrongs and their turning away, HaShem will bring His People back into the Land of Israel, for His Name’s sake! See my article ‘Israel: Return in Belief or Unbelief’ (at for some of the evidence for this.

What I wanted to touch on though was Moses heartache!

Imagine, he has led the Jewish people out of Egypt; they have seen many miracles on a daily basis; they, this 2 million people, have ‘seen’ the Almighty in a way that no-one else has, and yet, after his forty years of leading them, Moses is told that they will turn their back on the Almighty!

And Moses can’t do anything about it; he is about to die; to ‘sleep’ with his ancestors!

How heart-broken must he have been; how despairing! He had been like a father to his brethren; he had devoted everything to them; he had rejected a royal life for them; he had sacrificed much and here he is being told in a sense that he has failed! Yes, he knew that at the great Day of Judgment; the People of Israel would be restored and all the prophecies to Abraham fulfilled, but what comfort now; in this his final moments.

Moses was a super-hero! And yet, in a sense HaShem tells him he has failed! Was it worth it?

Do you feel for Moses; do you empathize with him; when you have given your all and it appears you have failed? Evil still abounds! Man still hates his brother! What can we do?!

Let us turn to the Almighty, the King of the Universe and acknowledge we need Him; we need His strength; His comfort; His mercy and justice! His Messiah! His great Day; the Day of Judgment; the Day of Atonement; the Day of cleansing!

Super Heroes: It’s not about special powers

What is it that makes for super-heroes? What attributes do they need? What special skills like x-ray vision or special human strength do they need?

Perhaps the truth is that they need none of these; that is a more about their character and their sense of their place in the scheme of things?

Consider Moses.

What a super-hero he was! Yet, he had no super-powers, he couldn’t even speak well! He had just spent 40 years farming in the desert before he began his great mission.

But think back to the event that changed his life. He was a prince; he lived in the most absolute luxury of his day as a Prince in the household of the Pharaoh. But he saw an injustice and decided it was his responsibility to intervene!

Moses took responsibility; Moses became, in a sense, in that instance, a leader, one of the greatest leaders of all time! Taking responsibility is the Jewish definition of leadership.

Taking responsibility is seeing that the world  was in some sense made just for you – for you to have an impact to change it for the better – when you recognize this and repent of your failure to actualize your responsibility, then you too are on the path to becoming a great leader and super-hero!

Every Yom Kippur (through the great 10 Days of Awe) you again have a chance to reflect and to turn back to HaShem and to take responsibility for YOUR world, to repair or improve it – this is Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.

Become a super-hero today; take hold of the awesome and unique responsibility that the Almighty has given you to change the world, your world, for the better.

It is a sin to fail to use your God-given gifts for the betterment of your world. You are ‘missing the mark’ when you are NOT being the super-hero you were designed to be!

I hope you can come back early next week and catch our upcoming Podcast on Yom Kippur and being a super-hero; a man or woman with a future in the world to come!

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