Pisqa’ 304

Pisqa’ 3041


“And HASHEM said to Moses:

Indeed, your days are dwindling down to death” (Dt.31:14).

R. Shimon b. Yohai says:

Blessed be the True Judge,2

the Lord of all redemptive deeds,

before Whom there is no injustice or favoritism!

And, in this vein, He says:

“Do not place your trust in a friend

and don’t rely upon a confidante3 (Mic.7:5)—

[for only the Holy One is trustworthy]

Moses replied before the Blessed Holy One:

Master of the world!

Since I am departing amidst great portents,

show me the trustworthy man

who will lead Israel,

so that I can take my leave4

from them in peace!

And, in this vein, He says:

“One who shall go out5 before them [in war],

and who shall come in before them [in war]”6 (Nu.27:17).

And He says:

“Then HASHEM said to Moses:

Take to yourself Joshua b. Nun” (Nu.27:18).7


And He says [about Israel’s leadership]:

“We have a little sister, who hasn’t yet any breasts” (Song8:8).

Four empires will rule over Israel,

yet they will have no sage,

nor even a man of insight [to guide them].

Such were the days of Ahab, King of Israel,

and the days of Yehoshafat, King of Judah:

“All Israel was scattered upon the hills

like flocks with no shepherd” (1 Kings.22:17)—

[and this is foreseen by the Torah:]

“So that the Congregation of HASHEM will not become

like flocks with no shepherd” (Nu.27:17)

  1. H:293-294;JN2:289-290.
  2. =M. Ber.9:2. According to the Mishnah, this blessing is recited upon hearing bad news.
  3. For the translation of ‘aluf, I rely upon BDB:48.
  4. Heb: ‘eitzei; literally, “go out.” From the root, y-tz-‘.
  5. Heb: yeitz’ei. The assonance of two verbs formed from the same root lends to each a shading drawn from the other. As Moses “takes his leave” he also contemplates the needs of “going out” to war.
  6. The insertion of “[in war]” follows the paraphrase of the same verse offered at Sifre Nu.139.
  7. Cf. ARNA:17.