What a literary farewell! Moses, preparing for death, delivers his
final words of wisdom and warning in poetry:
"`Give ear, O heavens, let me speak; Let the earth hear the words I utter! May my discourse come down as the rain My speech distill as the dew, Like showers on young growth, Like droplets on the grass. For the name of the Lord I proclaim; Give glory to our G-d!... ...He found (Jacob) in a desert region, In an empty howling waste... ...He set him atop the highlands, To feast on the yield of the earth; He fed him honey from the crag, And oil from the flinty rock... ...You neglected the Rock that begot you Forgot the G-d who brought you forth.
The Lord saw and was vexed
And spurned His sons and His daughters.
'I will hide My countenance from them,
And see how they fare in the end.
For they are a treacherous breed,
Children with no loyalty in them.... ...Wasting famine, ravaging plague, Deadly pestilence , and fanged beasts Will I let loose against them, With venomous creepers in dust....'"
And yet. G-d always forgives.
"'...O nations, acclaim His people! For He'll avenge the blood of His servants, Wreak vengeance on His foes, And cleanse the land of His people.'
...And when Moses finished reciting all these words to Israel, he said to them:
'Take to heart all the words with which I have warned you this day.
Enjoying them upon your children, that they may observe faithfully
all the terms of this Teaching.
For this is not a trifling thing for you: it is your very life;
through it you shall long endure on the land
that you are to possess upon crossing the Jordan.'
...That very day the Lord spoke to Moses:
'Ascend these heights of Alarm to Mount Nebo...
You may view the land from a distance, but you shall not enter it
--the land that I am giving to the Israelite people.'"
So close yet so far.
May we never take for granted
the magnificent Promised Land of Israel that Moses was never allowed to enter.