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    Herbert Michaelis in a rush – Vayelech

    Vayelech opens with two words which seem to be unnecessary: Vayelech Moshe, “And Moses went and spoke these words to the Children of Israel…” (Deut. 31:1).

    A famous Chassidic personality, the Holy Yehudi, went to visit the Seer of Lublin – but not to learn Torah from him.

    “I can learn Torah by myself,” he said, “but I visit the Seer to watch how he conducts himself”.

    Likewise, the Israelites watched the way Moses went along, the way he walked, the way he dressed, the way he behaved towards God and human beings.

    It reminds me of Herbert Michaelis, a congregant of mine in London. When he was called to the Torah we all glued our eyes on him.

    He literally ran from his place to the Torah, and after his Aliyah he dawdled on the way back to his place.

    How he walked taught us a great deal. He embodied the rabbinic advice that one should run to a mitzvah and leave the mitzvah behind with the greatest of reluctance.

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