by Rabbi Berach Steinfeld
In Devarim 32:48 the posuk says that Hashem spoke to Moshe in the middle of the day. Rashi quotes the Sifri that discusses that the Torah mentions that it was in the middle of the day in three places. The first place is during the mabul when it says in Bereishis 7:13 “In the middle of the day Noach came to the teiva.” The people of Noach’s generation said, “The minute we see Noach entering the teiva we will stop him.” Hashem showed them that it took place in middle of the day and the animals surrounded Noach protecting him, so he should be able to enter the teivah. In Mitzrayim in Shmos 12:52 it says that Hashem took the yidden out of Mitzrayim in middle of the day. The Egyptians said we will stop the Yidden from leaving Mitzrayim! Hashem therefore said, “I will take them out in middle of the day” and no one was able to stop the Yidden. The third time was right before the death of Moshe, when the Yidden said this person who took us out of Mitzrayim, split the sea, and did so many other things for us, we will not let him die! Hashem responded, I will take him into the cave on the mountain in middle of the day and no one will be able to stop it! We can understand that both during the generation of Noach and the generation of Mitzrayim the people had plans to physically try to stop something from happening, but how were the Bnei Yisroel planning to stop Moshe from dying?
The first tirutz is based on Reb Aharon Leib Shteinman who says in the name of the Brisker Rov that since the posuk says that Moshe will die on the mountain, it would seem that the gezeirah was that Moshe should die on the mountain and not anywhere else. It is possible that they had a hava amina of trying to keep Moshe off the mountain thereby making sure that he would not die. The Midrash says that Moshe followed the command of Hashem and he leaped up the mountain in one step!
The second tirutz is that the Bnei Yisroel thought they could stop Moshe from dying via their tefilla. The Maharsha in Kiddushin 29b says that Abaye caused Rav Acha bar Yaakov to have no place to sleep so that he would enter the Bais Medrash at night where there was a demon with seven heads. Abaye relied on the koach of tefilla of Rav Acha. The Shita Mekubetzes in Kesubos 104a says in the name of Rashi that when Rebbe died they said whoever reveals that Rebbe died will be killed. The reason for this was that they knew the minute everyone knows that Rebbe died, the people would stop davening. They wanted the tefillos to continue!
The third tirutz is based on the Gemara in Eiruvin 26a that quotes Rabba bar bar Chana who said in the name of Reb Yochanan that when Chizkiyahu Hamelech became sick, Yeshaya Hanavi went and put up a Yeshiva in front of his house to stop the Malach Hamaves from coming in! It could be that that was the plan of the Yidden during the end of Moshe’s lifetime. We find in many cases in both Bavli and Yerushalmi that if a person learns continuously, the Malach Hamaves can’t kill him. Another tirutz could be that the Chachamim of that generation had the same koach that the Tannaim and Amoraim had in that they were able to do techiyas hameisim. They figured they would bring Moshe back to life. That could be the reason why no one was able to know where the kever of Moshe was located. Another tirutz could be learned from the following story. When Reb Naftali Trop was very sick people went around to all the bachurim in Radin to see if they would be willing to donate time from their lives to Reb Naftali. When they asked the Chofetz Chaim this question, he responded, ”I could donate one minute,” which proves his time was so valuable. From this we see the concept of keeping someone alive via donating time from others’ lives.
We see how valuable our life is. May we live it to the fullest!
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