Almost forty years before this week’s portion of Vayeilech, “And we (Moshe) walked,” God began revelation by saying, “Thus shalt you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel,” understood as an instruction to teach each person in the manner with which he or she could relate. Strangely, we never find Moshe speaking to each individual in this personalized manner. Rather, “Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which God commanded him.”
And God said to Moses: “Go, Lech, to the people,” reminiscent of His first charge to Abraham, “Go from your country, Lech Lecha,” and, again, we find that Moshe seems to do something other than what God commanded, “And Moses went down from the mount to the people,” he did not Lech, go, but ‘went down.’
Until this week’s portion, Vayeilech, “And Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel.” It seems that on this, the final day of Moshe’s life, he fulfilled the Lech of long ago, and the personalized instruction first commanded at Sinai, because Vayeilech is understood as Moshe going to each family to offer personalized words of farewell.
Abraham too ends the significant part of his life as patriarch with a Lech: “And He said: ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go, lech lecha, into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of’.”
Moshe could not fulfill the personalized Lech until the end of his life, when he could go to each person with an individual message. The commandment of Sinai was to take them on a journey that would culminate in this sense of Lech, a personalized message that would allow each his or her individual journey with God.
We read of Abraham’s ultimate Lech on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, because his journey too was one that would serve as an example of walking with God, journeying through life with God; the real challenge and blessing of Rosh Hashanah: Discover your own personal journey through life.
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