A drash on V’zot HaBrachah- once again, written text is not what the actual presentation was!
what if you could write your own Eulogy, you own ethical will? What would you say? who would you bless? How will you be remembered? What would others say? We are often remembered by our words, what we say to another person can often leave a mark.
This Parshah, Parshat V’zot HaBrachah is Moses’s ethical will, his parting words to the people of Israel. As I was growing up, my dad used to send me emails of encouragement, of support, of blessings and of love. When he is no longer here with me, his words remain, encouraging me, they allow him to live on.
In many ways, Moses’s words in our parshah do the same thing. he brings in memory of what was, he reminds them of what he had seen them do, who they were and how far they have come. Deuteronomy, Chapter 33, verse 1 states: This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, bade the Israelites farewell before he died. And then goes on to bless the tribes. The order of this blessing and the blessings given are nearly identical to what is given to those tribes in Genesis. Moses concludes his life with a blessing, with his wishes and dreams for the future.
in Chapter 34, verse 5, Moses dies, “So Moses, the servant of the Lord died there, in the land of Moab, at the command of the lord.” The verse states Al-Pi-Adonai literally by the mouth of the lord. So I ask the question, what does it mean to die by the mouth of the lord?
In the Babylonian Talmud, in Moed Katan, 28a the Talmud states that God reclaimed the soul of Moses by kissing him. The same God who breathed life into Adam in the beginning of the Torah takes Moses in the same way at the end. Life, Breathe, a Kiss. So simple, so profound. Our mouth is the window to our soul- we live through it, we can injure with it, our words can hurt and heal, By the mouth Moses died, and by the mouth, we live.
In tractate Brachot 31 the Talmud teaches that a person should only leave his fellow with a word of Halachah, a piece of Law as it is through this that one will be remembered. Our words allow us to remember people, to create meaning and memory. After we are gone, whether by distance or by death, often our words are how we are remembered.
Our Parshah- V’zot HaBrachah tells us that this is the blessing. We are able to use our mouth, life is blown into us to bless us, we can bless those around us. This is what our blessing is.
Moses will be remembered through his blessings, his laws, his deeds. My father will be remembered by so many for so many things, but his legacy for me lives on through his emails, those words that speak to me more each day.
What is your blessing?