“And Moshe went and spoke these words to all of Yisrael” Devarim 31:1
It’s the question everyone is asking, everybody wants to know, where did Moshe go? All of the Commentators venture their answers, but the Kli Yakar’s second explanation is particularly poignant for our current standpoint, in the midst of the Ten Days of Repentance, and on the verge of Shabbos Shuva and Yom Kippur. The Kli Yakar says that Moshe Rabbeinu went to awaken the hearts of the nation to do Teshuva and repent for their sins. He gave them harsh Mussar, admonished them, and said, “Whoever has what to repent for, come forth and repent!”
But, because it is quite hard for someone to see their own faults, and it is practically unheard of for a sinner to drag himself to the “doctor” to ask for help in mending his sick soul, Moshe got up and went from tent to tent, to each and every member of the Bnei Yisrael to speak to their hearts about the importance of Teshuva.
The Kli Yakar reasons why Moshe felt the urge to go out and reproach the Bnei Yisrael one last time before his death. Perhaps, Moshe was trying to foster שלום – peace. שלום is unlike all other mitzvos. In general, we are commanded to fulfill the mitzvos when the opportunity arises. however, is special in that we are required to proactively work to create and maintain it. The Kli Yakar gives two reasons as to why this is true. He begins by explaining that there are two types of שלום. Peace between man and his Father in Heaven and peace between man and his friend. Peace between man and Hashem is achieved by doing Teshuva – repenting for one’s sins. In this regard, we find that Chazal teach us that Teshuva is great because if even one person does Teshuva, Hashem can forgive the entire world.
Peace between man and his fellow is imperative because most of the year, (except for the עשרת ימי תשובה). Hashem only accepts our Teshuva if many people enact change together. Therefore, the more people that make amends and repent from their interpersonal misdeeds will help Hashem accept the Teshuva of the majority.
Striving for שלום can help bring about Teshuva, which is why we are required to chase after it. That is exactly what Moshe Rabbinu did, he went out to the Bnei Yisroel and encouraged them to do Teshuva by guiding them through the process of creating שלום both between man and Hashem and man and his peers. Rather a timely lesson for us to learn and take to heart on Erev Shabbos Shuva with Yom Kippur on the rise.
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