Va etchanan/Shabbos Nachamu 2005

The Parsha begins with the plea of Moses to Hashem to be allowed to enter the land of Israel. The Sages tell us that Moses pleaded more than 500 times to have the decree against him revolved, and to be allowed to enter the land of Israel! What was so pressing for Moses to enter the land of Israel; granted it is a special land, but did Moses feel this to the degree that he uttered over 500 prayers? The Sages mention the concept that Moses wanted to do the special commandments that only apply in Israel, that pertain to tilling the land.

Yet, Rav Moshe Feinstein points out, there must be something more than that to the story. The Sages tell us that Moses was even pleading to enter Israel in some other form of life; i.e. even as a bird that could fly over Israel. Certainly, no commandments could be fulfilled by being a bird. What did Moses want in this request?

Rav Moshe Feinstein points out, that we see from here the importance of being in an environment of holiness. Even without doing any mitzvohs, the mere fact that that one is in an environment of holiness and spirituality is of utmost importance. Even if Moses could only enter Israel without the ability to do any mitzvohs, even as a bird, he still felt it would be a special elevation to his life.

This scene is certainly important for us. If we must choose an area to live in, a Synagogue to belong to, a friend to associate with, we must always strive to find the area, Synagogue, or friend that will help us truly elevate our life to a higher spiritual dimension. Just as Moses fought to be in Israel, to be enveloped in a greater place of holiness, we must look for the opportunities we can find to be in an atmosphere that will motivate us to reach greater heights.