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    Moses’ prayer – Va’et’channan

    The sidra has the name Va’et’channan, “I pleaded”. It relates an occasion when Moses had to plead with God.

    What he wanted was the right to cross over into Israel and see the Promised Land. Actually what he called it was “the good land” (Deut. 3:23-25). God had His own reasons for wanting Moses to die on the threshold of the land, seeing it from afar but never stepping on its soil.

    Some of the Talmudic rabbis described how sad they felt for Moses. Rabbi Zera for instance was on the verge of the crossing and jumped over it with a rope, saying that if entering the land was denied to Moses he had to thank God for the possibility of fulfilling the dream himself and he could not wait another minute (Ket. 112a).

    Rebbe Nachman of Breslov travelled extensively but always said, “Wherever I travel, it is on the way to Eretz Yisra’el”, and his followers noticed changes in his philosophy from after his trip to Israel in comparison with the earlier period.

    We of course have it easy. We can travel to Israel to settle or even just to visit, and we don’t need ropes to jump across the border.

    Every Jew should echo Rebbe Nachman’s teaching and find that nothing is ever the same after we have walked on the soil of the Holy Land.

    Try it: and irrespective of whether you regard yourself as a religious Jew you will find that Israel awakens your spirituality.

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