My notes on Vzot Habrachah

Parashat Vezot Habrachah

Deuteronomy 33

33:2   And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.

Comment: “from his right hand went a fiery law”: The Gd’s word (the fiery law) is located at Gd’s right hand. This imagery description is compatible with the New Testament description that Jesus is the incarnation of God’s Word (John 1:14), who returns to Gd and sits at Gd’s right hand (Acts 2:33-34). 


33:12   And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.

Comment: “Benjamin”: The name means “the son of the right hand”. Originally his mother called him “Benoni”, meaning “the son of my pain” (Genesis 35:18). This is compatible with the New Testament, which teaches that Jesus is the Son of Gd (Mark 1:1), who suffered first, but later sits at the right hand side of Gd.  As Hebrews 12:2 says: “Having our eyes fixed on Jesus, the guide and end of our faith, who went through the pains of the cross, not caring for the shame, because of the joy which was before him, and who has now taken his place at the right hand of God’s seat of power.”

Deuteronomy 34

34:1   And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan,

Comment: Moses was healthy and strong enough at 120 years old, to climb up a mountain 710 meters (2,330 ft) high, see


34:4   And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

Comment: The earth is curved but the light goes straight, which limits even perfect eyes from seeing a land too far away. The formula for determining how many miles an individual can see at higher levels is the square root of his altitude times 1.225. See,33009,766761,00.html

From the top of a 2,330 ft mountain, one can at most see sqrt(2330)*1.225 or about 60 miles away.

It is a miracle that Moses sees the whole land of Canaan, which is about 140 miles by 40 (see, e.g., This miracle may have been achieved by bending the lights around the curvature of the earth.

It is harder to make Moses see all the land of Canaan, than to make him walk into it with the Israelites, since he was strong enough to climb a high mountain. This proves that Moses’ failure to enter the promised land is not due to the limitation of Gd’s power, but due to His will. When one’s prayer to Gd is answered negatively, it is due to God’s will. Gd is good anyway. 

Gd is good to Moses. He actually did not veto Moses’ request completely.  Instead, He did a miracle to fulfill the part of the Moses’ original request on seeing the land (Deuteronomy 3:25: “I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.”) Also, Gd gives Moses longevity with good health, a productive life, a successor (Joshua), death in peace, and future entrance to the kingdom of Gd (as the vision of transfiguration in Matthew 16:28-17:9 in the New Testament implies). Indeed, Gd is good to Moses. 


34:7   And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

Comment: Moses was healthy at 120, and this becomes a traditional Jewish blessing for longevity: “May you live until 120”! See


34:12   And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.

Comment: The last Hebrew letter of the entire Torah is “L” in the word “Israel”. The first Hebrew letter of the entire Torah is “B” in the phrase “Bereisheet” (In the beginning). When we finish reading Torah and restart, we connect the two letters L and B to form LB, which means “heart” (lev) in Hebrew. If you decide to restart the studying of Torah, it is because Gd gives you a heart that yearns for studying His words. I learned about this beautiful connection from Rabbi Paul F. Cohen from Temple Jeremiah, quite a few years ago.