The Resurrection of Moses

Why was Moses buried outside the promised land? So that when the resurrection of the dead comes, he can lead his generation across the Jordan.

Vezot Habracha

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Vezot Habracha (וזאת הברכה | This is the blessing)
  • Torah: Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12
  • Haftarah: Joshua 1:1-18
  • Gospel: Acts 1:1-14

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Deuteronomy 33:1 | Moses' Final Blessing on Israel
    • Deuteronomy 34:1 | Moses Dies and Is Buried in the Land of Moab
  • Prophets
    • Joshua 1:1 | God's Commission to Joshua
    • Joshua 1:10 | Preparations for the Invasion

Portion Summary

The fifty-fourth and last reading from the Torah begins with the words Vezot ha'Berachah (וזאת הברכה), which means "And this is the blessing." These are the first words of Deuteronomy 33:1. This Torah portion is ordinarily read on the day of Simchat Torah (Rejoicing of the Torah) in conjunction with the beginning of the book of Genesis to mark the conclusion of one year's Torah cycle and the beginning of the next. The portion contains Moses' final blessings over the twelve tribes, the story of his ascent up Mount Nebo to overlook the land of Canaan and the story of his death and burial.

When Moses blessed the tribe of Gad, he said, “He provided the first part for himself, for there the ruler’s portion was reserved; and he came with the leaders of the people; He executed the justice of the LORD, and His ordinances with Israel” (Deuteronomy 33:21). Who is the “he” in this blessing? Tradition applies these descriptions to Moses himself.

The tribe of Gad settled in Transjordan. The sages understood the obscure words “for there the ruler’s portion was reserved” to refer to the grave of Moses (Deuteronomy 33:21). The Talmud says that the “ruler’s portion” in Gad is the burial plot of Moses.

Though Mount Nebo was located in the territory of Reuben, the sages imagined that the angels carried Moses into the adjacent territory of Gad for burial. Moreover, the midrash interprets Deuteronomy 33:21, “He came at the head of the people,” to mean that Moses will lead his generation across the Jordan and into the land of Israel at the time of the resurrection of the dead. This is why the LORD did not allow Moses to cross the Jordan. He needed Moses to stay with his generation so that his merit and favor could save the generation that he buried in the wilderness:

Lest people suppose that the generation that fell in the wilderness has no share in the World to Come, you must be buried beside them. Then in the time to come, you shall enter with them, as it says, “For there the ruler’s portion was reserved; and he came at the head of the people.” (Numbers Rabbah 19:13)

The generation of Moses would merit to partake in the resurrection only due to Moses being buried on the East Bank of the Jordan, just as they were. Moses identified himself as one with the people, and the LORD referred to Israel as the people of Moses, as it says in Exodus 32:7, “Go down at once, for your people.” Chayim ben Attar notes that the operative word here is “your people,” i.e. that in order to save his people at the time of the resurrection, Moses had to die here and now.

Compare this legend about Moses with the Messiah Yeshua who also died in order to save Israel in the future resurrection. He took the first part for himself, i.e., He was the first raised from the dead. In the future, He will come at the head of the resurrection, leading His people into the land of Israel like a king at the head of his army.

Adapted From: Torah Club Commentary Set: Shadows of the Messiah. Learn more about Torah Club and how you can start a Club of your own, or join a Torah Club in your area. Visit TORAHCLUB.ORG

Join the Conversation:

FFOZ Friends are individuals, families, or congregations who resonate with the mission and vision of First Fruits of Zion and contribute financially towards reaching our ministry objectives.

Become a Friend

Share this Teaching

This coming year Torah Clubs are studying the Gospels from a Messianic Jewish perspective. Club members will encounter Yeshua of Nazareth in his Jewish context. Discover the historical and cultural backdrops of the gospels and be amazed as the teachings of Yeshua snap into focus and clarity. Unravel his difficult words and parables; study Jewish parallels to his teachings; and ultimately know Jesus better.



The Weekly eDrash

Get inspirational teachings on the Torah Portions delivered to your inbox free every week. Insightful commentary from Genesis to Deuteronomy!


Related Commentary

Torah Portions Library

Unlock all the portion library articles:
sign in, or join our community »

© 2020 First Fruits of Zion, Inc., All Rights Reserved


First Fruits of Zion

© 2020, All Rights Reserved

Copyright Privacy Contact Help Donate