Moshe stood on Har Nevo on the Eastside of the Jordan.
He looked at Eretz Yisroel. The Torah records that from that point he was able to see across Israel all the way to the Mediterranean. He saw North all the way to Lebanon and South to the Negev. I stared at Har Nevo wondering how could Moshe have seen anything but desert? But a miracle must have taken place and Moshe saw it all. He saw Yerushalayim. He saw the place of the Bais HaMikdash he saw the beautiful waterfalls of the Banyas. He saw the hot springs of Tiberius. According to the Medrash he saw the future. He saw the greening of the desert, the skyscrapers, the hotels along the Kinneret, the Borsa in Tel Aviv, the Yeshivos of Bnei Brak - He saw everything and he prayed. He prayed 515 different ways trying to find an angle that would change G-d’s mind and let him walk the Land of Israel. ‘Let me become a bird, a stone, a wind current, a dog, I don’t care I just want to enter Israel.’
There is only one reason Moshe was so obsessed with entering Israel? He saw an opportunity for spiritual growth. He saw that the Kedushas Haaretz could bring him to a yet higher level of fulfillment. Moshe did not want to leave this Earth until he became everything he could possibly become. Moshe had already distinguished himself as the greatest leader of all time and as the greatest Prophet. Yet, as great as Moshe Rabeinu was, he knew Eretz Yisroel could bring him yet a step higher, greater and closer to Hashem. He wouldn’t give up.
Hashem replied: “Rav loch” it’s enough for you. You have gone far enough, you have grown enough spiritually. Why did Hashem deny Moshe such a noble request? Why would Hashem ever say “Rav Loch - enough”?
The answer is, says the Talmud, that just a while back Korach and his following came to Moshe and complained. True, they said, we are Levites, true, we are privileged to do G-d’s work in the Mishkan, but we want more. We want to be Kohanim. We want to have prophecy just like you. We want to be leaders like you. We want to have Torah just like you. Moshe responded strangely. “Rav lochem - Enough!” He said. “You have enough – you already have a holy and important job, why do you ask for more?” Hashem said to Moshe, there are many things you could have said to Korach but you chose to say said Rav lochem – you told them they don’t have to grow anymore, you told them they have enough. Now that you want to go to Israel and become that much greater I’ll give you back your same words – Rav loch - enough. (Talmud Sotah13)
When it comes to life G-d sets a very high and difficult standard - the minimum excepted performance is the maximum possible. Settling for anything less than the full actualization of one’s potential is not doing the job. There is no such thing as “good enough.” Moshe understood this for himself but somehow he felt that it was “good enough” for Korach. “Good enough!” - there is no such concept! He could have said “You have reached your potential”, but never “Good enough”!
One can never stop yearning for growth. One must never deny another the opportunity for growth. I have often told the story of my visit, a few years ago, to Rav Shach. He was around one hundred years old at the time. After our discussion he asked me what sefer I was holding. I showed him the sefer; it was one of the volumes of Rav Tzadok HaKohein. He told me that he never learned any of the works of Rav Tzadok and he began to cry. He explained that he no longer had the strength to study anything new and that made him cry. At one hundred years old, after mastering most of Torah, after studying for five generations with the greatest Gedolim, after building one of the greatest Yeshivos on Earth, he cried because he didn’t have the strength for something new. As long as we are alive we have to grow. We have to become greater, higher, kinder, holier and a greater asset to society. This was the prayer of Moshe. This was the frustration of Moshe.
Sometimes there is a little piece inside us that resents another person’s spiritual growth. There is a little voice in our heads that says “Rav Lochem; can’t you just be normal?” Never say to another person Rav lochem, it’s enough already. Never let anyone say it to you. View the gifts G-d has given us as G-d’s encouragement for us to grow. When Hashem gives us a home, a wife or husband, a family, or Eretz Yisroel, He is giving us the opportunity to climb to new heights. He is saying I want you to be come even greater. It’s never enough.
This weeks Reaching is dedicated by my friend and mechutan Mr. Fred Schor of Los Angeles in honor of the second wedding anniversary of our children Tzvi Hirsch and Raizy. May Hashem give them many good and happy years together.
Rabbi Yaacov Haber
Rabbi Yaacov Haber is Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Orchos Chaim in Jerusalem http://www.orchos.org.il and President of TorahLab http://www.torahlab.org Comments and questions are very welcome: email email@example.com