Shabbat Table Topics – Parashat Vezot HaBerakhah

What Defines Greatness?

The concluding verses of Torah declare Moshe to be a peerless prophet: "וְלֹא קָם נָבִיא עוֹד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמֹשֶׁה".  What, though, marked his greatness?  These verses speak of both his "face to face" relationship with Hashem as well as the many miracles he performed.

  • What is the relationship between these factors?  Did Moshe's uniqueness lie solely in his relationship to Hashem and his prophetic prowess, or did it relate to his interactions with the Nation of Israel?  Did he surpass others in his intellect, in his deeds, or both?
  • Were Moshe's miracles really greater than others?   Did not Yehoshua's stopping of the sun or Eliyahu's revival of the boy rival the feats of Moshe? Regardless, does the ability to perform miracles say anything about the performer, or just about Hashem?  Similarly, does prophetic ability reflect a person's capabilities, or is the prophet merely a vehicle chosen by Hashem to relay His words?
  • At your Shabbat table, review Moshe's forty years of leadership.  What were the high points? What marked the low points?  What lessons can be learned from both?

See Moshe's Epitaph – Signs and Wonders for elaboration.

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For more, see: Parashat Vezot HaBerakhah Topics.

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