With the parshah of Berachah, we reach the culimination of Moshe’s physical leadership of K’lal Yisrael. From the beginning of Chumash Devarim he was preparing the Jews for his impending death. Since Rosh Chodesh Shevat he was conveying his legacy, making a covenant with them, and consoling them. Finally the inevitable moment arrived, on the seventh of Adar, Moshe Rabbeinu expired.

The Torah is very precise about the location where Moshe was buried. It says that “He (Hashem) buried him in the valley, in the land of Moab, opposite Beit-Pe’or” (34:6). Then the pasuk concludes, “and no one knows his burial place to this day.” How is it possible that “no one knows his burial place to this day” when the location is recorded succinctly?

There was a time when Maggidim — preachers — were very popular. They would entertain the people with their long derashot — sermons — spiced with parables, stories and anecdotes. Once a Maggid explained the difficulty we raised in this pasuk in the following way.

A small Jewish community in Poland was once looking for a Rabbi. Upon hearing the fame of a young Rabbi who was recently ordained with honors at a prominent yeshivah, they sent a delegation to visit him and to invite him to become the Rabbi of their community. They were unable to offer him much financial inducement, and knowing that the community was small and that there were very few scholars learned in the Torah with whom he could associate, he declined the offer.

When the delegation sensed its failure to realize its mission, one of the men spoke up and said to the young Rabbi: “Do you know that some of the most prominent Torah luminaries such as the Rambam, Rashi and the Rama are buried in our community?” The Rabbi understood the implication. If he accepted the position he would be successor to a whole galaxy of distinguished Rabbis. Furthermore, after he had lived his life on this earth, his earthly remains would come to repose in the cemetery of the community alongside his distinguished predecessors.

The naive, unsuspecting Rabbi was won over and he accepted the position. It was not long after coming to the community that the Rabbi realized he had made a mistake. His salary was nothing to boast about and not having any learned friends in the community, he felt rather lonely. One day, when he was especially lonely, he decided that he would go out and visit the cemetery and see for himself who his great predecessors were. He walked through the length and the breadth of the cemetery examining each monument carefully, but found no names that he recognized.

He returned home and sent for the men of the delegation who had originally visited him. When these men arrived he said to them, “Gentlemen, you will recall that you told me that you have some of the most prominent and distinguished Rabbis interred in your city. Please tell me who these prominent scholars?”

The spokesman for the delegation answered, “Why, Rabbi, in our community you will find Rashi buried. You will also find the Rambam and the Rama interred here.” At this the Rabbi became infuriated: “How dare you say these things to me! The Rambam is interred in Tiberias, Rashi is buried in France and the Rama’s grave is in Cracow.” The spokesman again answered, “Rabbi, do not get angry with us, for we have spoken the truth. You can go to Tiberias and visit their Yeshivoth and shuls and you will see that the Rambam still lives there. He is discussed, his words are studied with the greatest respect. You can go through the Jewish academies of France and you will see that Rashi lives there. Young and old are engaged in studying his words. He is part of the life of everyone who learns the Chumash and the Gemara. You can go to Cracow and you will see that the Rama, the great Rabbi Moshe Isserles, still lives there. The people live by the rulings he set forth in the Shulchan Aruch.

“However, in our community all these great and prominent leaders of the Jewish people are dead and buried. You will not find anyone here, among our young and old, repeating words of the Rambam or of Rashi or of the Rama. It is true, Rabbi, that all these great masters of Jewish law are ‘buried’ here in this community.”

The Torah is telling us that Moshe is buried in the valley, that is, in a place where Torah light does not penetrate, and where Torah enlightenment is altogether absent. He is buried in the land of Moab, among primitive and uncivilized people. He is buried opposite Beit Pe’or — idol worshippers may not have heard of Moshe. However, the Torah tells us, in the Jewish community where children go to Yeshiva and elders study the Torah, “no one knows his burial place to this day.” Although Moshe physically died, he still lives on and will continue to live as long as the Torah is studied.

My dear Chatan and Kallah, you are now embarking on building your home. We all pray that it will be a place where the teachings of Moshe and his successors throughout the generation will be “alive” and vibrant.

Before concluding, I would like to add the following: The final words of the Torah speaks of the awesome power and great deeds of Moshe asher asah” — “that he performed” — “le’einei kol Yisrael” — “before the eyes of all Israel.”

Much has been written on these final words, but I would humbly add that the Torah is attesting that not only was Moshe a great teacher, but he was also a great living example. Everything he conveyed and instructed the Jewish people, he too, asah — performed — before the eyes of all Israel.

I pray that you, Chatan and Kallah, will emulate Moshe Rabbeinu and perform mitzvoth, not just within the confines of your home, but make it known le’einei kol Yisrael — to all of Israel — that you are a proud, Torah-observing family. This way you will merit “the blessing that Moshe, the man of G‑d, bestowed upon the Children of Israel.”