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  Parashas Haazinu from
Kol Dodi On Torah
Comments, insights and ideas on the weekly sidrah, adapted from the shiurim of Rabbi David Feinstein.

By Rabbi David Feinstein  Pinchos Osher Rohr 

Other Available Chapters
Parashas Mattos 

Parashas Haazinu

And die on the mountain as your brother Aaron died (32:50).

      In this verse, Hashem seems to promise Moshe that he would die in the same way as his brother. Rashi comments that Moshe envied the way in which Aaron died and desired the same death for himself. What was it about Aaron's death that Moshe so coveted?

      As Rashi explains, just before Aaron died, Moshe dressed Aaron's son Elazar in the priestly garments so that Aaron would have the pleasure of seeing his son take over his position as High Priest while he was still alive. Similarly, in Parashas Pinchas (Bamidbar 27:16), when Hashem told Moshe that he would be permitted to see the land from the other side of the Jordan River before going to his death, Rashi says that Moshe asked Hashem to allow his sons to inherit his greatness.

      This raises a question: Moshe desired to see his sons assume his role as leader of the people and envied his brother the privilege of seeing Elazar dressed in the garments of his office at the moment that he left the world. And here, Hashem seems to promise Moshe that he would be granted his desire to die in the same way Aaron did Ð yet, we know that Hashem did not allow Moshe's sons to take over leadership of the people and instead appointed Joshua. It is unthinkable that Hashem made a promise which He did not fulfill: How then did Moshe see his children inherit his greatness?

      Moshe's greatness did not lie in his role as king or political leader. Instead, he was Moshe Rabbeinu, Moshe Our Teacher, the teacher of Torah par excellence, who first introduced the holy Torah to the Jewish people. Our Sages taught (Bava Metzia 33a) that a father gives his son a place in this would but a Torah teacher brings his students into the World to Come and gives them a place there. In the eternal world, a teacher is, in a very real sense, a father to all of his students.

      Thus, as he left the wold, Moshe was privileged to see his most devoted and beloved disciple, his ''first-born son'' so to speak, inherit his Torah leadership role, and all his ''children,'' an entire nation of students, inherit his true greatness, the Torah which Hashem gave them through him. All of us are his heirs, and we have him to thank for the place which is waiting for students of Torah in the World to Come, as the Sages said, ''All Israel has a share in the World to Come'' (Sanhedrin 90a).

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