Moses’ Plea

Tomorrow’s ‘Parashah’ (weekly Torah portion) is ‘Va-Etchanan’ {ואתחנן} (Hebrew for ‘and I pleaded’). This is the second ‘Parashah’ in the Book of Deuteronomy and can be found in Deuteronomy 3:23–7:11.

The weekly Torah portion’s name comes from the opening verse, in which Moses said the following words:

“And I pleaded with the LORD at that time, saying…” (Deuteronomy 3:23)

The verb ‘Etchanan’ {אתחנן} is derived from the Hebrew root Ch-N-N {ח-נ-נ} which means ‘begging’ or ‘pleading’ and in some cases even ‘imploring.’ This Hebrew verb belongs to the verb group (‘Binyan’ in Hebrew) ‘Hitpa’el’ which indicates a reflexive or mutual action and suggests that Moses’ pleadings were stronger than the usual, so to speak.

Rashi – the most famous Jewish Bible commentator of all times – pointed out a very compelling lesson we can learn from Moses’ character in particular and all righteous people in general. Even though Moses had a very long list of good things he had done and therefore could ‘use’ that as support when asking for something, he did not mention anything at all about all of the good things he had done – instead he simply pleaded…