On this month my family and I are celebrating thirty years since our arrival , our Aliyah to Israel. We are in the midst of a time wherein we witness another senseless destruction of Jewish homes in Bet-El and hear the growing litany of “allies” and our compatriots across the sea conveniently set Israel and its people as the villains in the Iranian weapons debacle. At a time such as this it is important to reconnect with why we and so many others made the decision to come on Aliyah.
As Moshe stands at the other side of the Jordan looking towards a land he was forbidden to enter he declares;
And I beseeched HaShem at that time, saying: “O HaShem G- d, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness, and Your strong hand; for what god is there in Heaven or on Earth that can do according to Your works, and according to Your mighty acts? Let me go over, I pray to You, and see the good land that is beyond the Jordan, that goodly hill-country, and Lebanon.”(Deuteronomy 3: 24-25):
Rashi explains that the “good mountain” is Jerusalem and “the Lebanon” is the Temple (built with the cedars of Lebanon).
We need to remember that we are talking about Moshe Rabbeinu( Moses the great teacher).This is the man who walked between Heaven and Earth. He is the man who spoke to G-d as men speak to each other, “panim el panim”, that is to say, “face to face.” This is the man who walked into the fiery mountain and felt the Glory of G- d pass over him. Yet this man, at the end of his life, declares these unusual words
“O HaShem G- d, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness, and Your strong hand; “
The words “You have begun “are startling. This man has seen and experienced more than any man has or will experience of G-d. Yet he declares that “You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness”
Here was a man standing at the gates to heaven .What more would he want in this temporal life. What would be so important about seeing ” the good land that is beyond the Jordan “.
It is clear that there is no place in this universe devoid of G-d
“Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that Hashem, He is G-d in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” (Deuteronomy 4:39)
“The whole earth is full of His glory.”(Isaiah 6:3)
Yet while all that is true, Israel is different. Hashem is experienced in this land differently. There are no veils and no walls. Hashem is simply experienced in this land fully. This is the land that is described in the following way
“The eyes of Hashem… are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year” (Deuteronomy 11:12).
That was the basis of Moshe’s emotional plea. When he declares that “, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness”,he is saying that after all the great miracles in Egypt, the dramatic splitting of the sea and the supernatural revelation at Mount Sinai, there is more! There was an experience that would be more intimate and more whole.
That was the lesson that Elijah the prophet needed to be taught;
” And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before Hashem; but Hashem was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of the Stil land Small Voice.(1 Kings 19:11-12)
This was the basis of Moshe’s plaintive plea. He understood that this land that he was barred from entry to is the place of the Still Small Voice
Rav Yitzchak Hutner told the following story of Harav Kook(Shivchei Harayah, p. 195):
I once took a walk with HaRav Kook and one other amidst the hills of the land of Israel. Rav Kook described d how impressed he was by the landscape. The other man asked him, “But you were in the Alps. What is so special about these mountains?”
Rav Kook replied, “The Alps didn’t speak to me.”
This is the place of the Still Small Voice
Le-Refuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved