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Burial of Moses -Secret to Long Life

Burial of Moses -Secret to Long Life

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THE BURIAL OF MOSES (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 13a)

            Background: This story from the Talmud is a commentary on the verse from Deuteronomy (34:6) “And G‑d buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-Peor.” It is an attempt to establish G‑d’s reason for not clearly identifying the place of Moses’ burial.

            The wicked rulers of Rome once ordered a military party at Beth-Peor in an attempt to find the sepulcher of Moses. When they ascended on high ground, it appeared as if it were in the valley. However, when they stood in the valley, it appeared as if it were on high ground.

            Rabbi Hama b. Haninah said, “Why was the burial place of Moses hidden from all people’s knowledge? Because G‑d knew that the time in the future would come when the Temple would be destroyed and Israel would be exiled from their land. If the Israelites knew where Moses was buried, they would be tempted to go to the sepulcher and cry and plead to Moses, saying, ‘Moses, pray for us!’ Moses would do so and the decree would be annulled, because the righteous are even more precious to G‑d after their death than while they are alive.”

THE SECRET OF REACHING OLD AGE (Babylonian Talmud Megillah 28a)

            Rabbi Nechunia ben HaKaneh was asked by his students, “By virtue of what have you reached such a good old age?”

          He replied, “Never in my life have I sought respect through the degradation of my fellow, nor has the curse of my fellow gone up with me upon my bed, and I have been generous with my money.”

          Rabbi Judah the Prince asked Rabbi Joshua ben Korcha, “By virtue of what have you reached such a good old age?”

          He replied, “Never in my life have I gazed at the countenance of a wicked man.”

          Rabbi Zera was asked by his students, “By virtue of what have you reached such a good old age?” He replied, “Never in my life have I been harsh with my household, nor have I stepped in front of one greater than myself, nor have I meditated on the Torah in dirty alleys, nor have I gone four cubits without Torah and without tefillin, nor have I slept in the Bet Hamidrash, either a long or a short sleep, nor have I rejoiced in the downfall of my fellow humans, nor have I called my fellow by his nickname.

 

 

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