Wonder of Wonders

Tishrei 5, 5783
September 30, 2022
Candlelighting Time 6:25 PM

            Moshe speaks to the nation and declares that today I am 120 years old. Why was it necessary to inform them of his age before he handed over the leadership of the people to his trusted disciple Yehoshua? K’sav Sofer explains with tremendous depth why Moshe spoke of his age to the nation.

            Rabbeinu Bachya cites the verse in Mishlei that one’s fear of Heaven adds days to his life and the lifestyle of the wicked shortens their life span. He questions this because truthfully we would think that one who lives with constant pressure to perform and fulfill the mitzvos without fail would suffer emotional impairment due to the strain imposed upon himself. Every day to have ongoing concern whether or not his level of fear of Heaven is sufficient and therefore his connection to Hashem is appropriate and productive should cause enough pain and agony to really harm one’s wellbeing. And alternatively, those who live a carefree life, enjoying all of life’s amenities available to them would fair so well and experience a well-balanced emotional state that would promote a long and healthy life. Yet. King Solomon in Proverbs is teaching us that just the opposite is true!

            Moshe wanted to teach the nation just this lesson and a clear glimpse into how one should conduct his life. Therefore, he stated to them that today he is 120 years old. Yet until now,  he had lived as an extremely healthy, active and productive life. He led the nation for forty years in the desert and protected them from potential castigation from Hashem on account of their sins. However, today, as there is a transition between from Moshe to the new leader, and his reign has ended, he is truly an old, weary man. Hashem has removed his blessing from him and his miraculous stability of health is no longer warranted and therefore no longer afforded to him.

            The crucial message that he was delivering to the people was that Hashem presides over them in an incredibly supernatural manner. And this will continue as they head towards Israel and will need to battle the Canaanite nations in order to prevail and banish them from their midst. And they will merit that miraculous set of circumstances that will present them this eventual outcome provided that their conduct will promote their relationship with Hashem in such a manner that will find them favor in His eyes.

            We do not have the same opportunity that the generation of the desert had. Their connection to Hashem was in a manner unknown to any other generation in the history of our people. However, this glimpse of the stature of Moshe and the prominence of the people provides us with the understanding that we can also attempt to the best of our ability to emulate their connection to Hashem and build upon ours in such a fashion that we can also aspire for a relationship perhaps far beyond where we stand now.

            And that captures the status of where we find ourselves today between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. We have raised the bar with our heartfelt prayers during Rosh Hashana and therefore  as we continue to pursue higher levels of achievement in our performance of mitzvos, may we merit a New Year full of happiness, joy, and the best of health.


During this time of repentance before the completion of the judgement on Yom Kippur, we beseech Hashem that He will accept our attempt to regain our proximity to Him and judge us with a flexibility allowing us to again to merit another year within which to succeed in serving Him.        S’FAS EMES