BR 15:06, Dec 1999
Did Moses Enter the Promised Land?
Moses never entered the Land of Israel. Because of one act of disobedience, when he hit a rock in anger instead of praying to it (Numbers 20:11),1 God told him he could never set foot in the land of milk and honey, the land that represented the fulfillment of his lifes work. Thats how centuries of tradition have told the story. And thats what we believe. How unfair it seems, knowing all that Moses did for the Israelites.
But is there another reading of this text? Is it possible that Moses did cross the Jordan River?
According to tradition, Deuteronomy 31 relates what took place on the last day of Moses life. It opens with the words Vayeilech Moshe, And Moses went. But, as Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetsky, dean of the Yeshiva of the South Shore, Long Island, recently asked, Where did he go?2