A Successor for Moses

Jul 5, 2015

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה עֲלֵה אֶל־הַר הָעֲבָרִים הַזֶּה וּרְאֵה אֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָתַתִּי לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

Hashem said to Moshe, “Ascend these heights of Avarim and view the land that I have given to B'nei Yisrael.

va-YO-mer a-do-NAI el mo-SHEH a-LAY el HAR ha-a-va-REEM ha-ZEH ur-AY et ha-A-RETZ a-SHER na-TA-tee liv-NAY yis-ra-AYL

Numbers 27:12

וַיִּסְמֹךְ אֶת־יָדָיו עָלָיו וַיְצַוֵּהוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁה׃

He laid his hands upon him and commissioned him—as Hashem had spoken through Moshe.

Numbers 27:23

As Moses will not be allowed to enter the Land of Israel, God tells him to climb to the top of Mount Abarim and see the land which He has given to the Children of Israel. The Israel Bible explains the repetition of beholding/seeing the land in both verses 12 and 13. This indicates that Moses saw its spiritual as well as physical beauty. Then, God tells him he will die as his brother Aaron did. Ever worried for his people, Moses asks God to choose a successor for him, so that they will continue to be guided in all they do.


God tells Moses to take Joshua, whom God calls “a man in whom is spirit”, and lay his hands upon the younger man. Moses is to pass on his proverbial mantle in the face of Eleazar the priest and all the congregation of Israel. Joshua, God tells Moses, will lead the people from now on. Eleazar will communicate God’s will to him via the mystical Urim and the people will follow him. Moses does as he is told, laying his hands on Joshua and passing on his leadership role.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

We are only two-thirds of the way through the Book of Numbers, and we still have all of Deuteronomy before we reach Moses’s death. So why do you think the Torah tells us now about appointing Joshua as Moses’s successor?

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