"Moses went... and said, 'Today I am 120 years old...'"—Deuteronomy 31:1-2.

Moses lived exactly 120 years, passing away on the day of his 120th birthday. As this week's reading begins, "Moses went... and said, 'Today I am 120 years old...'"

The phrase "Moses went" is very significant because it indicates not only "going" in the literal sense of physical movement, but more importantly, in terms of personal progress and growth. Spiritual movement means leaving one's previous spiritual rung and beginning a new phase of Divine service. Although Moses was 120 years old, and had attained the highest level of closeness with G‑d, he never ceased moving forward. Even on the last day of his life, he continued striving for greater heights in his development as a human being.

When we are stalling in our spiritual development, we excuse ourselves by remembering that we are not seeking perfectionIt is well known that our spiritual program of recovery is based on "Progress, not perfection." Many times, however, we emphasize the second part of the phrase—while minimizing the first. When we are stalling in our spiritual development, we excuse ourselves by remembering that we are not seeking perfection. But do we remember, at the same time, to demand from ourselves that we continue making progress?

The life-long task of moving ever closer to G‑d is based upon a commitment to abandoning one's previous mode of conduct. Hopefully, we are always moving forward—even to the extent of becoming a totally new person. This radical change is not something that happens just once in a lifetime, but should continue throughout one's years. When can we say that we have changed enough that we are totally satisfied? When can we say that we are close enough to G‑d to rest on our laurels?

Yet, it is often the case with us in recovery that when life starts to return to normalcy, we lose the sense of urgency we so keenly felt at first. When we were humiliated and dejected, we accepted that we would have to change ourselves. But change cannot end as soon as things start to feel manageable again! The commitment we make to our spiritual growth is that we never stop growing, never stop moving and changing throughout our lives. Even in those specific areas in which we may have achieved some modicum of perfection, we do not relent from looking for still better ways to be more spiritual and more selfless. Whereas, at least in theory, perfection is attainable; progress, by definition, never ends.

As an old timer once said, "Life is like apples, When they're red, pick 'em. If they're green, they're still growing."