20-20 Vision

Shevat 26, 5783
February 17, 2023
Candlelighting Time 5:20 PM 

The parsha concludes with Moshe ascending to Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah. En route, he was accompanied by Yehoshua. Rashi poses the question why was Yehoshua there? He answers quite profoundly that we see the devotion of a disciple. Moshe engaged Hashem and merited to directly receive the Torah from the ‘mouth’ of Hashem. Yehoshua did not have that opportunity but he realized that it is very important to be there for his Rebbe when he descends from the mountain. Therefore, he camped out at the foot of the mountain anxiously awaiting his Rebbe’s return. Did he realize that he would be there for forty days. Moshe did inform the people that he would return in forty days’ time so Yehoshua knew the time frame and could have simply come back at the end of the forty days and greeted his Rebbe upon his return. However, he displayed an anticipation and excitement waiting for his Rebbe and therefore did not leave the area where his Rebbe would return to after spending the forty days on Mt. Sinai. This is a lesson for all to imbibe the importance of devotion and commitment to one’s mentor and especially a Rebbe who has imparted so much Torah to his disciples. 

Rav Shlomo Kluger takes this episode to another level further indicative of the need for emulating one’s Rebbe. Moshe did not immediately encounter Hashem at the mountain top, rather he first was secluded and went through a stage of preparation unknown to us but certainly one which required extreme diligence and thoroughness for a monumental meeting with Hashem. Since the Rebbe required such a rigorous protocol, Yehoshua who received the Torah from Moshe certainly would need such a process which would enable him to also be primed to receive the Torah appropriately from Moshe. Therefore, Yehoshua left the camp and secluded himself at the base of the mountain to enable himself to properly understand the Torah that Moshe would convey to him.  

Netziv adds another significant caveat to this event. Yehoshua was the principal disciple of Moshe and the foremost propagator of Torah for the next generation. He did not accompany Moshe on his initial ascents to Mt. Sinai and therefore we must assume that Moshe instructed him to escort him because Hashem commanded that he should. The special aura that Moshe merited upon his descent from Mt. Sinai after his convocation with Hashem for this extended period of time was transmitted to Yehoshua when he met Moshe immediately after his reception of Torah. Moshe’s face glowed and that otherworldly illumination that Moshe brought with him was transferred to Yehoshua albeit in a somewhat mitigated fashion. As the Talmud states that Moshe’s countenance resembled that of the sun and Yehoshua’s was like that of the moon. The moon reflects the light of the sun and conveys it to us. So too, Moshe transferred his special demeanor and bearing to Yehoshua who absorbed that extraordinary mien and impact.

We know have a clear view of the greatness of Yehoshua which enabled him to be so close to Moshe and capable of leading the next generation of the Jewish people.


The first born brought the sacrifices by Mt. Sinai. But they were referred to as young men. One would assume that the first born would have been the elders of the people because they were the first born. However, their ongoing desire to always serve Hashem with tremendous devotion and commitment required that they would renew their vigor on a daily basis and that robustness resembled that of young men full of strength and stamina.