Master of Nun: Vezote Habracha 2020

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: When have you had big shoes to fill? How did you go about trying to fill them? What challenges did you face along the way?

When we read the Torah’s final portion on Simhat Torah morning, we’ll be reminded that Joshua had the double-edged responsibility of following Moses:

The Pitch: “Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the Israelites heeded him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.” – Deuteronomy 34:9

Swing #1: “Who can say whether the [second half of this verse] is intended to be ironical. … If the people were to treat him as they did his predecessor, Joshua had his work cut out for him.” – Aaron Wildavsky, Moses as Political Leader

Swing #2: “[God] said, ‘In this world, [only] individuals have prophesied, but in the world to come all Israel shall become prophets.” – Bamidbar Rabbah

Swing #3: “[Joshua is] full of the spirit of wisdom [because] Moses had laid his hands upon him.” – Ibn Ezra

Late-Inning Questions: Do our commentators seem to feel that Joshua is up to the task of following Moses as leader of the Israelites? Do they seem to feel that the Israelites will give him a fair opportunity? How much of a “grace period” should a new leader receive?

On-Deck at Temple Beth Tzedek: Circle Sunday, October 18th on your calendars; from 10AM-12PM, you’ll have the opportunity to return any borrowed mahzorim, make a food donation to Operation Isaiah, turn in your Israel Bonds pledge cards, and get a flu shot — all without leaving your car!

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of big shoes to fill, it’s tough to think of Hall-of-Famers who consecutively played the same position on the same team … but it has happened (Ted Williams/Carl Yastrzemski/Jim Rice in left field for the Red Sox; Joe DiMaggio/Mickey Mantle in center field for the Yankees).

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!