“I will not cross the Jordan,
Joshua will lead”
I am now one hundred and twenty years old, I can no longer be active. Moreover, God has said to me, “You shall not go across yonder Jordan.” … Joshua is the one who shall cross before you, as Adonai has spoken.
Moses, with his brother Aaron, led the people during their 40-year journey through the wilderness. As we near the end (and beginning) of our annual Torah reading cycle it is time for Moses to turn over leadership to Joshua.
It can hardly be a coincidence that this portion is read on Shabbat Shuva, the special Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We are in the midst of the 10 days of reflection leading from the old year to the new one. It is a time to consider how we fell short in the previous year and how we can avoid those mistakes in the year just begun.
In Torah, old leadership turns over the mantle to new leadership. Moses hopes he has taught Aaron the skills to lead this “defiant and stiffnecked” people (Deut 31:27) as they cross into the land God promised to their ancestors.
In our lives, as the new year begins, we hope these days of reflection, repentance, and renewal will help us learn how to lead better lives as we cross into the year ahead.
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