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June 1, 2014 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Behaalotecha

This coming week’s portion contains a couple of passages related to aging.  Moses asks Hovev (who presumably is the same person as Yitro, at least according to most commentaries I have read) to come with him to Canaan.  Hovev says that he wants to return to his own land.  (Num. 10:30).  Scharfstein (citing Sforno) says “Hovev pleaded, I am an old man, and I wish to return to my homeland.”

In other words, because Hovev is old he craves stability, he craves a return home.  I can identify with Hovev.  I just turned 50 last year, and really wish I could settle down here in NYC and dwell there for the next few decades.  Unfortunately, the job market has different plans for me; I have gone on leave of absence from my teaching job to avoid being formally laid off (and to give me a chance of coming back if my school ever starts making money again).

On the other hand, Moses also has aging issues.  Moses starts to complain to God about the burdens of leadership (11:14-15).  Scharfstein says he is “old and tired.”  God tells him to delegate some responsibility to tribal elders, but does not completely fire him.  Lesson: just becuase you are getting older doesn’t mean you have no responsibilities left.  In other words, I better get back to work, whether in NYC or elsewhere!

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