Parshat Vaetchanan

Devarim 3:23-

I pleaded with the LORD at that time, saying,

“O Lord God, You who let Your servant see the first works of Your greatness and Your mighty hand, You whose powerful deeds no god in heaven or on earth can equal! Let me, I pray, cross over and see the good land on the other side of the Jordan, that good hill country and the Lebanon.” But the LORD was wrathful with me on your account and would not listen to me. the LORD said to me, “Enough! Never speak to Me of this matter again! Go up to the summit of Pisgah and gaze about, to the west, the north, the south, and the east. Look at it well, for you shall not go across yonder Jordan. Give Joshua his instructions, and imbue him with strength and courage, for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he shall allot to them the land that you may only see.”


Enough: so that people should not say, “How harsh is the Master, and how obstinate and importunate is the disciple” (Sotah 13b). Another explanation of enough: more than this is reserved for you; much is the goodness that is stored up for you. (Sifrei Bamidbar 135).

Or HaChaim

enough: Alternatively, God implied that all the people who would fulfill the commandments which could only be fulfilled in the land of Israel would share merit they acquired with Moses because he had been the one who had instructed them to observe these commandments.

This is the mystical dimension of “enough.”

Midrash Tachuma

Enough: As so did Job state (Job 31:35), “O that I had someone to give me a hearing; O that the Omnipresent would reply to my plea, or my prosecutor write a bill of charges!” And what book is that? “This is the book of the generations of Adam” (Genesis 5:1), as Adam brought death to the world. What did Job say? “Small and great are there, and the slave is free of his master” (Job 3:19). Therefore, “It is enough.”

Franz Kafka (as cited by Avivah Zornberg)

He is on the track of Canaan all his life; it is incredible that he should see the land only when on the verge of death. The dying vision of it can only be intended to illustrate how incomplete a moment is human life, incomplete because a life like this could last forever and still be nothing but a moment. Moses fails to enter Canaan not because his life is too short but because it is a human life.

Avivah Zornberg

The humanity of Moses’ life is for Kafka a matter of its incompleteness. “Nothing but a moment,” his life illustrates the interrupted nature of human desire. We heave suggested that Moses’ desire shifts to fill other contours. In his last months, Moses reaches out in displaced desire to his people. As never before, he is implicated with them and their vital requirements. Between the wailing infant and they dying teacher, a human life arches.

Personal and transpersonal, his voice becomes in later mystical thought the quintessential voice of Israel, of its scholars, of the Messiah himself. He becomes the soul-root of Israel, the very type of its creative students. When someone had a brilliant insight in the House of Study, he would be congratulated: Moses, you have spoken well!

In the words and wordlessness of his life, Moses is haunted not only by the past — the history of the patriarchs, of the Egyptian holocaust — but, in a real sense, by the future. The future sends out radiations during his infancy and early years. At the Burning Bush, revelation and mystery claim him: God names Himself, “I shall be Who I shall be.” A fire that is never consumed draws him aside toward a future self, a historical role that he passionately resists. “Who am I?” …

Veiled and unveiled, he remains lodged in the Jewish imagination, where, in his uncompleted humanity, he comes to represent the yet – unattained but attainable messianic future