Hadrash Ve-Haiyun

by the Reisha Rav, HaGoan Rav Aaron Levine TZ"L

Elucidated and Adapted by Efraim Levine

Vezos Haberachah - Simchas Torah

Dedicated in honor of my parents
Rabbi Dr. and Mrs. Aaron Levine

 To Dedicate Please Contact Hadrash Ve-Haiyun

Never again has there arisen in Yisroel a prophet like Moshe whom Hashem had known face to face.
(Devarim 34:10)

Beginning with this posuk the torah begins its closing remarks. We may ask: What significance lay in the greatness of Moshe that the Torah chose to close with a three-posuk description of his greatness. More specifically, why does the Torah need to tell us that there will never arise another like Moshe?

Let’s answer this question by combining two points. First, we must understand that the Torah was given to Moshe in the form of a nevuah i.e., vision. The nevuah of Moshe was unique in that it was unparalleled in terms of clarity. The Gemara states all the prophets received a ”cloudy” nevuah, not so Moshe and Bilam who received a clear nevuah. The second point is the law that a beis din may not uproot the decrees or laws of another beis din unless it is greater in wisdom and number (Megilah 2a).

Putting the two points together we may explain as follows: Since the torah was give as a nevuah, albeit a clear one, is was still subject to the interpretation of a human being i.e., Moshe. Now, if there were to rise up at a later time a prophet that was greater than Moshe then the Torah would fit within the framework of the rule that a later beis din that is greater in wisdom and number may uproot the laws and decrees of their predecessors. This later prophet or beis din would then have the ability to change and even nullify the laws of Moshe. The Torah would thus be subject to change and nullification and could not be classified as eternal. In order to dispel such a notion the Torah dedicates its concluding remarks to emphasize that there will never rise up another individual as great as Moshe. Thus, the torah will never fall within the law of a later beis din that is greater in wisdom or number.

To summarize, the significance of concluding with the greatness of the Moshe is to teach us that the Torah is eternal.

With this idea we may gain new insight into a popular song that is sung on Simchas Torah. We sing “Moshe emes v’toraso emes.” Translated: Moshe is true and his Torah is true. We may ask: What connection is there between Moshe being true and his Torah being true.

First, let us note the source of this song. The Gemara (Bava Basra 74a) tells of a story where a certain Arab showed Rabba bar bar Chana the site where Korach and his followers were swallowed. Upon witnessing the site they heard from within the ground Korach cry, “Moshe and his torah are true and we are liars.”

We may ask here the same question as above. Why was Korach crying about the Torah of Moshe? We only find Korach rebelling against the leadership of Moshe not his Torah.

Let us answer these questions by first defining “truth.” Truth is something that survives the test of time. It is something that remains “true” forever and is never subject to change. Something that changes over the course of time cannot be classified as true. Truth, for our purposes is a synonym of eternal.

Next, let us analyze the rebellion of Korach. Korach complained that is was not proper for Moshe to single-handedly lead the Nation. Korach claimed contrary to our posuk that there are others that are just as great, if not even greater than Moshe. He demanded that Moshe share his leadership with others. At first glance it seems that Korach contention was over honor. However, in truth Korach was challenging the eternal nature of the torah. For if it was true that there are others that are greater than Moshe then a later beis din or prophet that is greater than Moshe may uproot or change the mitzvos of the Torah.

Korach’s punishment was to admit that Moshe is true, i.e., was and will remain the greatest prophet that will ever be, and thus the Torah that was given through him is true i.e. eternal.

On Simchas Torah we celebrate the eternal nature of the torah. As we have seen this is dependent on our belief that there will never be an individual as great as Moshe. Moshe is thus part and parcel of the Yom Tov. We therefore celebrate “Moshe is true and his Torah is true.”