Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Transjordan 3: Moshe Rabbeinu, in memoriam

Today is 7 Adar, the anniversary of Moses's death. This week (and every year during the week of 7 Adar) we read Parshat Tetzaveh, the only portion in the last four books of the Torah in which Moses is not mentioned. So it was a highly appropriate week to visit Mt. Nebo, Moses's place of death (but not his place of burial -- no one knows that!).

This willow tree made us ponder whether arvot Moav has a second meaning.

This mountain is where Moses looked out and saw the whole land of Israel.

The Mt. Nebo site is currently run by the Franciscans. There is a church at the top of the mountain, which was closed when we were there, but that was so not our priority.

This sculpture represents the copper serpent that Moses made in the desert (Numbers 21 strikes again!).

It's there because of John 3:14-15 :
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Which (leaving aside the cross element) is the same basic idea as Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 3:6 :

"God said to Moses: Make yourself a serpent..." And does the serpent kill and revive? Rather, any time that Israel looked upwards and dedicated their hearts to their father in heaven, they would be healed, and otherwise, they would be crushed.


  1. How do we know that Moses didn't die in 7th Adar 2? I'm actually curious about this question because my Hebrew wedding anniversary is tied to two dates - it was scheduled for Moshe Rabbenu's Yahrtzeit but it was delayed until after sunset with the consequence that our final Sheva Bracha was also a Purim Seudah. You can see my dilemma if the Yartzeit is 7 Adar 1.

  2. Traditionally Simchas in Adar during a leap year we count on Adar II so your anniversary would be in Adar I but yahrtzeits from a no-leap year Adar are mourned during Adar I so Moshe's yahrtzeit is traditionally counted today.

  3. there's actually three opinions on yawrtzaits in Adar:

    (each one, of course, has its own logic)

    it's in Adar I
    it's in Adar II
    it's in both Adar I and Adar II