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Moses and Punishment

Rabbi Chaim Kalusyner, in his Torah Thought for the portion this week, relates a Midrash. When Moses complained to G-d that the Jews were worse off since he confronted Pharoah, it was decided that he would not enter Israel. Another Midrash relates that if Moses was not buried in the desert, that the others buried in the desert of his generation would not be redeemed in the Techias Hameisim, the revival of the dead. In that sense, R. Kalusyner states, Moses was not being punished by not going into the Land of Israel, he was being rewarded. It is like a man who claimed a boy he found was his orphaned nephew and was trying to take care of him. But the boy preferred remaining homeless. They went before a judge, and the wise judge ordered the man to spend a lot of money buying clothes for the boy. If the man were truly the boy's uncle, he would see spending all that money as a privelege. If he were lying, however, he would feel that he was being punished.

On the last day of Moses' life, at age 120, he wrote thirteen Sifrei Torah. They were written on Shabbos, and of course we know that no human could do that. They were written in a supernatural way. But if this is how Moses was occupying himself, one thing is clear... Moses was not complaining on that day that he was being punished... he was preparing Torahs, books of teaching, for people he cared about.

Interesting thought department for those who desire Jewish experience : Like the great leaders of Israel, we too can be aware that G-d is asking us "(Your name here)... where are you?" and we answer "Hineni" I am here. ...this teaching we can experience by doing... Hear G-d saying this and answer G-d... maybe your answer will surprise you and tell you something you needed to hear. Do it and see what happens. It will be an interesting experience, and who knows, maybe you are where you are for a reason you didn't know.

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