"The Eternal said to me, 'Get up, go on your journey before the people, that they may enter and possess the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them'" Deuteronomy 10:11


We seem to be living in a very dangerous world, much more so than any time I can remember. Racism and xenophobia are on the rise in the United States, in Britain, in Europe and across the world. They agree in saying that "we" could be great again, if only "we" kept out/expelled/contained certain groups.

Democracies are not immune. Such movements are always bad for the Jews; sooner or later, they turn their gaze towards us. In dark times like these, we need light more than ever.

The 19th-century Chasidic teacher Aaron of Karlin) saw the verse quoted above through the prism of a teaching of the Tikkunei Hazohar (an appendix to the Zohar), that Moses is distributed throughout every generation.

The Karliner interpreted the verse to mean that "in every generation, there is an aspect of Moses that teaches the people and binds together all Israel until 'they may enter and possess the land'", meaning, the messianic age.

What does this distribution of Moses in every generation mean? It means Moshe Rabbenu, Moses our Teacher, is literally that, our teacher; and that those qualities that made Moses the greatest of our prophets are present in each of us, awaiting expression. What are those qualities?

First, Moses was the great redeemer, and so he teaches us an abhorrence of oppression, and the understanding that oppression needs to be confronted. Secondly, he was the great lawgiver, and thus taught a deep respect for the rule of law as the only true protection against oppression.

These Mosaic qualities within us can provide the light we need in darkened times. They can lead us through them, and ultimately, we pray, allow all humanity to "enter and possess" the promised land of peace.

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