A Transcript from Ari Fuld’s weekly Torah Live videos
September 14, 2018 – 5:46 PM
Editor’s Note: This raw transcript was the last D’var Torah that Ari posted online as part of his Torah Live and Torah & Grill series.
Hey everyone, Ari Fuld here. We’re broadcasting out of the beautiful rolling hills of Judea, Israel, and we have a short, but very exciting lesson we’re going to be talking about today from this week’s Torah portion.
So before we do begin, if you’re tuning in, definitely say hello; let me know where you’re tuning in from. I always love to see how far this is going.
We’re going to try to keep this short, because Shabbos is coming in.
We’re going to talk about something that is probably one of the most practical pieces of advice for today.
We’re talking about handing over leadership. We’re talking about what is a leader, the definition of a real leader.
And so, Moshe Rabeinu is about to die and he has to hand over the leadership to the next person in line, which according to God’s command, of course, is Yeshoshua bin Nun (Joshua).
And you would expect, when you are handing over the leadership to the next person in line that you would give them advice on how to survive and how to be successful.
Right, whether it’s how to survive with the nation, how to survive with God, how to survive in the desert. Different kinds of advice that would help the next leader succeed.
And apparently, if you read the Parsha, in the beginning,
[Shabbat Shalom, thank you for tuning in. If you’re tuning in, please let me know that you’re sharing it out, and of course we’ll give you a loud shout out here.]
So you would think that [there would be] some positive advice that would give him confidence, “you can do this, everything is great, everything is wonderful.”
Well, the Parsha starts out ‘Vayelech…” Moshe goes and doesn’t even talk to Yehoshua, he doesn’t go to Yehoshua and say, “I’ve got to talk to you, step into my office for one second, we got to talk. I want to give you the reins, the control. I want to pass the leadership over to you, but there are a couple of things you need to know.”
That’s not what happens.
It says Moshe Rabeinu says all these things in front of the whole nation of Israel.
OK. Well, what does he say?
What does he say to the nation of Israel, the second before he is going to die? The second is about to hand over the responsibility to another?
And you have to remember by the way, that when Moshe Rabeinu went up to Har Sinai, Mt. Sinai and didn’t come down, even a couple of hours late, that Bnei Yisrael, so missed his presence that they built the golden calf.
So what does the leader at the time say to the nation of Israel when he is about to die and give the leadership to the next person in line?
He says, Vayomer Lahem, Moshe Rabeinu says to the nation of Israel, “ben meah v’esrim shana anochi,” I am a hundred and twenty years old, hayom, today, lo uchal od lateit ulavo, I can’t do it anymore. I can’t do it anymore.
v’Adonai amar eilai, furthermore God said to me, lo taavor et hayarden hazeh, you’re not passing the Jordan river, you’re not going to the Land of Israel.
I mean, if someone doesn’t understand, or can’t read it within the words [the text], it really sounds, I don’t want to say ridiculous, but it’s ridiculous. I mean, you’re about to die, you’re handing it over to the next leader, instead of charging him with confidence and everything will be ok, what do you do?
You say, I can’t do this anymore, I’m a hundred and twenty years, I can’t do this anymore, and God also told me I’m not going to the Land of Israel.
Well, you know, if Moshe Rabeinu can’t do this thent he nationis certainly not going to have confidence in anyone else.
[Ari interrupts the D’var Torah with a news update: Sorry for interrupting right now with a news update. A terrorist tried to infiltrate Israel from the Gaza strip, and was terminated by IDF soldiers. So thank God they didn’t get in and good job by the IDF soldiers.]
But, the question again is the following. Bnei Yisrael, the nation of Israel, have their eyes on Moshe Rabeinu. Moshe Rabeinu, if Moses, if you don’t know.
And they believe in Moshe Rabeinu. Almost more than they believe in God! We know that. Moshe Rabeinu goes up to Har Sinai, (gets lost…) doesn’t come down, and Bnei Yisrael get completely lost.
So instead of saying it will be OK, Moshe Rabeinu says I can’t do this anymore… and God’s punishing me.
Now if there’s any way to hurt the confidence of the nation who is supposed to believe in the next leader, in Yehoshua, Moshe Rabeinu seemingly destroyed that. He did the worst thing one could possibly do.
He says, me, Moshe Rabeinu, right, the man you all believe in who took you out of Egypt and did all the tremendous miracles, I can’t do it anymore.
Well, if you can’t do it, then certainly Yehoshua can’t do it. He just stripped the nation’s belief in Yehoshua.
And then the second line is, and God punished me. He’s not allowing me into the Land of Israel. Well, if Moshe Rabeinu is getting punished for what? For hitting a rock, let’s say, if we’re going to read it on the most simplest level, then how is anyone else going to do any better?
Moshe Rabeinu we know that is says, there will not be a prophet that will arise like Moshe ever again in history.
So if he got punished by God, for doing such a small, seemingly small act, Yehoshua is not any better than him, so is also going to get punished.
It seems like the worst possible thing you can say to a nation right before you die.
And then the next passage, Adonai Elohecham hu ovair l’fanecha, he is going ahead of you, hu yashmid et hagoyim haeleh milfanecha virishtam, he will destroy the nations coming against you, and you will be able to inherit the land of Israel.
Well, what is he forgetting to mention here?
There’s no name of Yehoshua here. Right? It doesn’t say Yehoshua at all. It says, Hashem, God will go in front of you and he’ll fight the wars.
And it says, and then after he says God will do that, it says, Yehoshua hu ovair lifanecha ka’asher debair Adonai, and Yehoshua will be in front of you as God commanded.
Very, very strange order of the Pasukim here.
First it says to Bnei Yisrael that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is going to fight for you and you will inherit the land and destroy the nations that are trying to fight you and then it says, Yehoshua will go in front of you as God commanded.
Well, if God is going in front of the nation of Israel. then what do we need Yehoshua for? And why did he tell us all about his lack of confidence a passage ago? What purpose did that serve besides breaking the confidence of the nation of Israel.
[I appreciate everyone for sharing. Thank you.]
And then he goes on and he says, that God will do (for) to you like he did to Sichon u’lOg malchei haemori, he destroyed the Emorites, u’lArtzam, we took over their land, asher hishmid otam, he destroyed them for attacking Israel. U’nitana Adonai lifneichem, God will give you these nations in front of you, v’asitem lahem k’chol-hamitzva asher tziviti itchem, and you must do to them like all the commandments in the Torah. Chizku v’Imtzu, he tells the nation of Israel to be strong and brave, al tiru, don’t be fearful, v’al ta’artzu mipneihem, don’t be fearful in front of them, ki Adonai Elohecha hu haholech imach lo yarpcha vlo y’azvcha, he’s not going to leave you, he’s not going to stop, and he’ll take care of you.
Right, so now the question is asked, why did Moshe Rabeinu talk about his lack of confidence a passage ago, if its all in Hakodosh Baruch hu, all in God’s control?
And then, after he speaks to Bnei Yisrael…
[At this point Ari pauses to give his daughter Tamar a blessing before Shabbat. Ari says, Sorry, my daughter is going away for Shabbat, I just had to give her a blessing.]
OK, so, after he strips the confidence of the nation, he says he didn’t succeed, he says God punished him, then he says God’s going to go in front of you, the entire nation, he’s missing one very important person that he has to talk to right now.
Who is that?
It’s Yehoshua. Joshua.
And the next Pasuk, Pasuk Zayin, Vayikra Moshe L’Yehoshua, he finally calls Yehoshua, he finally Joshua, Vayomer Eilav, now what does Moshe Rabeinu say to Yehoshua, to Joshua? L’Einei Kol Yisrael, he doesn’t talk to him in private by the way, again, come into my office, let me give you some hints on how to rule the nation, some hints how to fight the wars. No! He does this in front of the entire nation of Israel.
Chazak v’Ematz, he says be strong and be brave, ki ata tavo et ha’am hazeh el haaretz asher nishba l’avotam, you will “Tavoh”, means to come, “Tavih” means to bring, very strange language here. Tavoh, Bo, means to come here, Tavih means to bring, so it says here, atat tavo et ha’am hazeh, you will make this nation come into Israel the way that God promised your forefathers. latet lahem v’ata tanchilena, and you will, tanchilena comes from hitnachluyot, you will settle the land, you will settle them in the land. Very strange wording here.
Right, you will make the nation come into the land, instead of you will bring the nation into the land.
And then it says, v’Adonai hu haholech lifanecha hu yihiye imach lo yarpcha vlo yaazvecha lo tira vlo teichat. That’s it. The conversation is over. There’s no advice for Yehoshua. No advice whatsoever.
What’s going on here?
So, first of all, the way I explained the beginning passages, that Moshe Rabeinu says I can’t do this anymore, I’m a hundred and twenty years old and I cant do this anymore, and God punished me. So obviously, that is not what the Torah is trying to say. Because if it was what the Torah is trying to say, Moshe Rabeinu, was he able to split the sea? Was he able to do the ten plagues in Egypt? Was he able to do anything?
No. It as all Hakodush Baruch Hu. It was all God. So what do you mean, I can’t do this anymore.
So the explanation here is that he doesn’t have permission to do this anymore.
Moshe Rabeinu, the reason he can’t do this, is not because he’s weak, remember when Moshe Rabeinu was annointed by Hakodush Baruch Hu to bring the Jews out of Egypt, he said I can’t talk, I can’t this, and Hakodush Baruch Hu said, I didn’t ask you what you can’t do, I’m anointing you into the position to do what you got to do.
So to that Moshe Rabeinu is now saying that he’s weak is a little bit ridiculous to believe that it means literally.
But he’s saying I can’t go anymore because God said I’m not allowed to cross the Jordan. It’s not that he’s weak. He saying, I can do it if I wanted to, but I’m not allowed to. And therefore, he’s saying, the reason that he can’t do this anymore is that God said, you’re not allowed to go in anymore.
This is why he has to give the reins over.
So what did he say to Yehoshua, what did he say to Joshua? Or what did he say to the nation first? He doesn’t mention Joshua, what did he say to the nation? He’s trying to teach them something extremely important.
In the Hagada shel Pesach, in the book we read on Passover, we read a full book on the story on the exodus from Egypt, on getting out of the land of Egypt. And guess who is not mentioned in that book, even once.
Moshe Rabeinu, Moses is not mentioned in that book even once. Not even once! In the entire book that we read that celebrates the exodus from Egypt, who Moshe Rabeinu was the leader, who did so, it’s not mentioned at all, he’s not mentioned at all. He’s not mentioned even once.
The same reason why we don’t know where Moshe Rabeinu is buried. The reason why we don’t know where Moshe Rabeinu is buried according to the Mefarshim, the Jewish explainers/sages, is because people would go and worship him at his grave – and that’s a mistake according to Judaism – because there is only one source of success and failure, and that’s Hakadosh Baruch Hu, that’s God.
And so the idea is that he’s saying to Bnei Yisrael, Yes, he’s not calling Yehoshua first, because Yeshoshua is important, but the leader is only as good as his followers. And no matter what a good leader Yehoshua might be, if Bnei Yisrael don’t follow the law, don’t follow the Torah, he will not succeed. We saw that in his war he fought with Ai, where they lost, because someone took some of the loot.
So, the idea is, he doesn’t talk to Yehoshua first, because Yehoshua comes second. First comes the nation and first comes the Torah, and the commandments.
So what happens is, he says to the nation, look Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu will take care of you, God will take care of you, but you have to follow the Torah… and Yehoshua will be there also. He will be there also, but your success in entering the land of Israel and being successful will only happen if you follow the laws.
And then he calls Yehoshua, and he doesn’t say Yehoshua, he doesn’t say to him this is how to be successful. No. What does he say?
He says, Chazak v’Ematz, be strong and be brave, ki ata tavou, you’re not bringing, ata lo meivi, you’re not going to bring the nation of Israel to the land of Israel. It’s not up to you.
It’s not up to Yehoshua.
The nation has to bring themselves to the land of Israel that takes moral codes, that courage and strength. Yehoshua the leader, he says will make them come to the land of Israel, the bringing in is not up to Yeshoshua.
And so he says to them that God promised, nishba l’avotam, that God promised it to the forefathers, and therefore he will succeed, but not because he’s Yehoshua and not because Moshe Rabeinu is Moshe Rabeinu.
No. Because at the end of the day, the reshut of hatzlacha or kishalon, success or failure is up to Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu alone, and therefore all the advice he’s giving has nothing to do with the personality, Yehoshua is this kind of person, therefore he’ll succeed. No. It has nothing to do with that.
In fact, if God wanted to pick the worst person to take the Jews out of Egypt, he couldn’t have picked the worst person than Moshe Rabeinu. A man, by his own (admission) had no confidence, who apparently had some sort of speech impediment, was an outcast from his family, who grew up in the house of Paro. Right, he didn’t grow up in a religious, Jewish home. He grew up in the house of the man responsible for the bondage of the nation of Israel.
So he couldn’t have picked the worst person.
But that’s exactly the point.
The leader is not the leader by his own… what do they say now in America, if you’re born into a [privileged] family, therefore you’re important. That’s not the way it works in Judaism at all.
So Yehoshua is given the same advice as Bnei Yisrael. Yehoshua will be there as a leader, but its not up to him, its not up to you. It’s up to the nation of Israel.
Dovid HaMelech, by the way, he wasn’t the first-born, King David, he wasn’t the second born. He wasn’t the third born fourth born, fifth or sixth. And when Natan HaNavi came to Yishai, King David’s father, by the way, who is buried in Hebron, and said to him, show me your son because he’s going to be king, so Yishai brought the first, the second, the third, and he [Natan] said, no, no, no. Show me that one in the field, who’s like hanging out with the sheep and doing nothing. That’s the king.
Because it’s important for a leader to understand that their effort is very important. Your responsibility and effort are extremely important, but success and failure is not necessarily up to you.
And this is the message that Moshe Rabeinu was giving the nation of Israel and Yehoshua together. He said to Yehoshua you are guaranteed to succeed in bring the nation into the landing, [correction] having them come into the land of Israel.
But the end of the day the message that Moshe Rabeinu was giving the nation of Israel and also to Yehoshua, to Joshua, was the idea that the only the Jews can succeed is not based on a Moshe Rabeinu, a Moses, is not based on a Joshua, it’s based on you, the nation of Israel.
If you are following the Torah, if you are keeping the Torah, if you are keeping the moral code of the Torah you will succeed – and if you don’t, you won’t.
That’s the bottom line.
[All right everyone, we’re about done here, I want to remind everyone that November I am coming to the States on a speaking tour, so I have some people who have called me already and closed down dates. I still have some dates open. North America it will be the second and third week of November. We’re talking about Israel. We’re talking about reclaiming the narrative, fighting for truth, how to destroy the anti-Israel propaganda. So if you want to set something up in your area, shoot me a private message, I’ll send you the flyer with information and you can bring it to the people who are responsible inyour area, the go-gettters to get things set up and we’ll do it.
Alright everyone, wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom. Have an awesome weekend everyone. This is Ari Fuld from the beautiful rolling hills of Judea, Israel.
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Alright everyone. Have an awesome weekend everyone, from the beautiful rolling hills of Judea, Israel.