Vayelech: Where Are We Going?
In Parashat Vayelech, which coincides with Shabbat Shuvah (Shabbat of Return) this year, Moshe is ready to hand the reins over to Joshua. He says to him “Be strong and of good courage, for you will come [tavo] with this people into the land (Devarim 31:7).
וַיִּקְרָ֨א מֹשֶׁ֜ה לִיהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלָ֜יו לְעֵינֵ֣י כׇל־יִשְׂרָאֵל֮ חֲזַ֣ק וֶאֱמָץ֒ כִּ֣י אַתָּ֗ה תָּבוֹא֙ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה אֶל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר נִשְׁבַּ֧ע יְהֹוָ֛ה לַאֲבֹתָ֖ם לָתֵ֣ת לָהֶ֑ם וְאַתָּ֖ה תַּנְחִילֶ֥נָּה אוֹתָֽם
Later, he says “Be strong and of good courage, for you will bring [tavi] the Israelites into the land” (Devarim 31:23).
וַיְצַ֞ו אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן וַיֹּ֘אמֶר֮ חֲזַ֣ק וֶאֱמָץ֒ כִּ֣י אַתָּ֗ה תָּבִיא֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֣עְתִּי לָהֶ֑ם וְאָנֹכִ֖י אֶהְיֶ֥ה עִמָּֽךְ
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis says that Moshe gave to Joshua both תָּבוֹא֙ and תָּבִיא֙ which are two levels of leadership. Joshua will be the leader from the front who will show B’nai Yisrael the way. He will also be among the people and show that he truly identifies with them. This is what parents do also. We are the leaders of our homes. We lead our families from the front, we also identify with them. We acknowledge who they are as individuals. It is our duty to relate, have fun, and connect with our children, yet we also are an authority to them. It’s important to strike the right balance though.
Leaders remind their followers of the vision and their purpose. Leaders lift up others and help them achieve the greatness that G-d created for them. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin says that when we remember that G-d is at the core, we are choosing eternal life. We are all part of the eternal process, and we are loved by G-d. Our task is to make the world a better place. Our choice is to choose life dedicated to G-d’s dream and inspire others to do the same. As we continue to serve G-d, we will move towards the ultimate redemption. May that redemption come speedily in our days! Shana Tovah and G’mar Chatima Tovah!