Pisqa’ 339

Pisqa’ 3391


“Then die upon the mountain which you have ascended” (Dt.32:50)—

Moses said before Him:

Master of the World!

Why must I die?

Wouldn’t it be better

if they could see me with their own eyes,

and could agree: “Moses is a good man?”

than if they had heard of me

[only] on the basis of tradition,

and said:

That Moses!

He brought us up from Egypt,

split the sea for us,

brought down the manna for us,

caused the quail to come for us,

and worked for us prodigious wonders!2

Would it be better had they

reported second-hand:

Such-and-such was Moses;

This-and-That did he do?

He replied:

Enough of this, Moses!

It is My decree that [death] befalls all men equally,

As it is said:

“This is the rule if a person dies in a tent” (Nu.19:14).

And, furthermore, [David] says:

“May this be the rule for a person, My Lord, HASHEM” (2Sam.7:19).


Said the angelic attendants before the Blessed Holy One:

Master of the World!

Why did the Primordial Adam die?

He replied:

Because he did not obey My orders!

The said to him:

But, look—Moses obeyed Your orders!

He replied to them:

It is My decree that [death] befalls all men equally,

As it is said:

“This is the rule if a person dies in a tent” (Nu.19:14).


“And be gathered to your people” (Dt.32:50)—

that is, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

to Amram and Kohut,

to Miriam, and to Aaron, your brother.

As Aaron, your brother, died” (Dt.32:50)—

it is the death that you envied.

And on what grounds do we know that Moses

envied the mode of Aaron’s death?3

At the very moment that the Blessed Holy One said:

“Take Aaron, and Elazar, his son . . .

then Aaron stripped his garments” (Nu.20:25-26)—

that is, the Priestly garments,

in which he would clothe Elazar, his son.

Then the second garment and the third

[until all eight garments were removed].

The Holy One told him:

Enter the grotto! And he entered.

Ascend to the bier! And he ascended.

Stretch out your hand! And he stretched it out.

Stretch out your legs! And he stretched out his legs.

Close your mouth! And he closed his mouth.

Shut your eyes! And he shut his eyes.

At that very moment,

Moses said:

Fortunate is the one who dies this death!

Therefore is it stated:

As Aaron, your brother, died” (Dt.32:50) –

the death you envied!

  1. H:347-348; JN2:394-395.
  2. Cf. Pisqa’ 337.3
  3. Cf. ARNA.12.