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    Time to go

    Moses appoints Joshua his successor, woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, 1860

    The end of the Torah marks the death of Moses.

    According to the rabbis, Moses tried to hang on.

    God said, “It is time for Joshua to lead the people and for you to die”.

    Moses replied, “Let me live and have Joshua as my teacher.”

    God agreed.

    Moses went to Joshua’s tent and stood at the back trying to be inconspicuous.

    The people noticed him and asked Joshua, “Is it right for you to sit whilst your teacher Moses stands?”

    Joshua saw Moses was there and said, “Moses, teach us Torah!”

    Moses refused, so Joshua continued the lesson.

    Later the people said, “Moses, please explain the lesson”, but Moses said, “I can’t”.

    He turned to God and said, “Master of the World, the time has come. I now wish to die”…

    We learn a vital lesson from the story.

    There is a time to step down and to leave your successor in charge. If you have gone you have to go. Not necessarily to die, but to say, “My chapter has come to an end”.

    Too often people try to hang on after leaving office or retiring from business. If you are wise you will say, as a Simchat Torah poem reports of Moses, “Yehoshua bin Nun, look after my flock”.

    Joshua will not be a clone of Moses. He will win his own victories as Moses won his.

    What should a Moses do at that point?

    Not get in the way. Become immersed in a new interest. Make new friends. Have no regrets.

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