“I beseeched Hashem at that time saying” Devarim 3:23
Parshas Vaeschanan begins with Moshe Rabbeinu pleading with Hashem to allow him to
enter into Eretz Yisrael. The Gemara in Sotah (.יד) asks a famous question. Why was Moshe
Rabbeinu so frantic to gain entry? Did he need to eat from it’s fruit or fill himself up with it’s
goodness? The Gemara answers that Moshe Rabbeinu’s burning desire was purely spiritual. He
yearned to fulfill the specific mitzvos that can only be performed in Eretz Yisrael.
The Ksav Sofer questions the wording of the Gemara’s question. The Gemara could have
asked, “Did Moshe need to eat?” Why did the Gemara specifically mention the fruit of the land?
Furthermore, why the double language of “Did Moshe need to eat from the fruit and become
satiated from it’s bountifulness?”
The Ksav Sofer explains the particular language of the Gemara based off of the Rambam
in הלכות תשובה פרק ט הלכה א.The Rambam teaches that the entire purpose of living in Eretz
Yisrael is only in order that we should able to serve Hashem in a pure and uninterrupted fashion.
This may be the meaning of the three-faceted blessing that we recite after eating from the
seven species with which Eretz Yisrael is blessed. ״לאכל מפרי׳ ולשבוע מטובה״ – through eating the
fruits of the land we can complete our souls and become wise in Torah knowledge for the air of
Eretz Yisrael makes one wise.
Moshe Rabbeinu did not require this extra spiritual cleansing boost that one can receive
from being in Eretz Yisrael, for on his level he was able to complete the purpose of his soul even
outside of Eretz Yisrael. Nothing could enter his periphery that might distract him from his
service of Hashem. This is the question of the Gemara. If Moshe Rabbeinu did not need the fruit
of the land to enhance his service of Hashem, why was he crazed with the need to be there?
That is why the Gemara comes to teach us that there was another special characteristic about
the Land, the special mitzvos that can only be accomplished there. It was those mitzvos that
Moshe Rabbeinu so dearly wanted to fulfill.
Moshe Rabbeinu is our eternal leader. He cherished Eretz Yisrael to the utmost degree,
even though all he wanted from the Land was to fulfill it’s mitzvos. We stand to gain even more
than Moshe by being there, for we can all surely use the extra spiritual enhancement that Eretz
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