The life cycle that was and is the Torah cycle of 5772 is at an end, what began with a beginning for everything is now ending with the death and burial of just one man…Moses.
I often wonder what exactly did Moses see as he gazed into the Promised Land from a far. Did he see Israel as it was at that time? Was he seeing the rule of King David? The establishment of Modern Israel or the Messianic Age? I really do not think what he saw matters because whatever reflected through his pupils is the last thing he experienced. The point I am meandering around is maybe Moses’ death blow was delivered by Hashem via Eretz Israel.
A close friend of mine married the grand daughter of a South Vietnamese hotel tycoon, when it became apparent that Vietnam was to unite under a communist system he suffered a massive heart attack and died on the spot. The thought of potentially losing assets for the “common good” was too much for him to bare. I think this sense of absolute is what overwhelmed Moses’ heart but this still does not add closure.
Jewish views on the world to come vary greatly from tradition to tradition and person to person. If there is a Zion in the sky then Moses dying outside of the Promised Land is really no big deal, but if this is it then . . .well. . .how depressing, right? The idea of a divine spark or soul permeates throughout Judaism and encompasses ideas of reincarnation and a spiritual progression of sorts. If our sparks do return to the fire that is Hashem with the potential to descend to this realm at some point in the future what does this say about Moses’ spark?
The Torah makes it very clear there will never be another like Moses and we can then safely say the bodies of Jesus, Mohammad, and Baha’u’llah did not contain any of Moses’ divine spark. Despite Hashem’s overwhelming love he was forced to punish Moses by keeping him from the fruits of the Promised Land. The Torah does not touch upon if and when this sentence of segregation is to end or if it only applies to the physical.
One can argue that a spiritual ascension to a more heavenly plane of existence is a reward and not crossing the Jordon with the rest of the Ancient Hebrews is not a significant punishment for angering Hashem. If re-entering this world is a possibility is Moses doomed to only inhabit the bodies of Diaspora Jews, or dare I say it, gentiles? I don’t know, at the vary least one would think his spark would be sequestered to a portion of Hashem unable of jettisoning divine sparks.
I was not raised in a tradition that focused on, or really even discussed, Jewish reincarnation and I am not even sure if I believe that it is possible, but I was raised in a tradition that did except the Maimonidian idea of resurrection. Now as a very liberal thirty-three year old Jew I am open to ideas of complex and multi-faceted avenues of an afterlife or nothing at all. As this Torah cycle ends I am left with an even greater desire dig deep and entrench myself in the subtleties of Torah.
Jeremiah@punktorah.org Twitter: @circlepitbimah