"And I implored God at that time" Deuteronomy 3:23

By Rabbi Barry Lerer, August 7, 2014

Moses stood on Mt Nebo looking at the Land of Israel and he prayed in 515 different ways, trying to find a way that would change God's mind and let him in to the Holy Land.

He begged God to let him be a bird or even a stone, anything that would let him enter into the Land of Israel.

The reason why Moses was so obsessed with entering Israel is because he saw it as an opportunity for spiritual growth. He saw that the holiness of the Land could bring him to a yet higher level of fulfilment. Moses did not want to leave this earth until he became everything he could possibly become.

He had already distinguished himself as the greatest leader of all time and as the greatest prophet. Yet, as great as he was, he knew that the Land of Israel could bring him yet a step higher, greater and closer to God. He would not give up. He was not content. He did not settle.

This is a stark lesson to many of us who feel that there is no need to spend more time learning and exploring our religion, who think "what I know is good enough".

Akiva was a 40-year-old shepherd who would take his sheep down to the water; when he saw the drips of water make an impression on a stone, from that he understood that he needed the words of Torah to make an impression on him.

He dedicated his life to Torah study and became the famous Rabbi Akiva. At 40 years old Akiva changed. He didn't say to himself, "I am too old. I am all right as I am." Rather, he realised he could grow and he did.

One can never stop yearning for growth.

Last updated: 4:16pm, August 7 2014