Vaes’chanan, the first word of our Torah reading, means “I pleaded.” Moses pleaded with G‑d, asking Him to allow him to enter the Land of Israel.

Why did Moses want to enter the Land of Israel? Did he want to see its sights, or taste its fruits?

Our Sages explained that Moses desired to enter the land in order to fulfill the commandments which are associated with our Holy Land. For example, there are tens of mitzvos that concern the crops grown in the Land of Israel that do not apply in the Diaspora. Moses wanted the opportunity to perform these commandments.

Why? Moses represented the ultimate of knowledge. He was the greatest of the prophets. He received the Torah from G‑d and beheld His presence in a way that no other mortal ever did. Why was such a person concerned with separating a few kernels of grain and giving them to a priest?

Because “deed is most essential.” Judaism is a religion of deed, not of knowledge, belief, or prayer. It is through fulfilling G‑d’s commandments in actual deed that we establish our fullest and most complete bond with Him.

To explain: We are physical beings. If we would relate to G‑d only with our minds and our feelings, there would be a fundamental element of our makeup - the physical dimension of our being - which would not be involved with Him. When we do mitzvos - and in particular mitzvos that involve the everyday dimensions of our beings - the full range of our personalities can be connected to Him.

There is a deeper dimension to the importance of deed. From time to time, we all have certain feelings that we can’t express in words, but they can be expressed in actions. There are times when we stroke or hold a child, and that will mean more to him or her than anything we could possibly say. For deed has the potential to bring out an unbounded dimension of the power which exists within our souls.

If this is true with regard to physical things, it is definitely true with regard to the spiritual. When performing mitzvos, we express the most profound spiritual potentials, which we possess.

For these reasons, Judaism sees mankind’s ultimate goal as the coming of Mashiach when our entire people will return to the Land of Israel and fulfill the mitzvos of that land. It posits that the ultimate reward will be the Resurrection of the Dead, when all the souls of history will again return to physical bodies and live on this earthly plane. Instead of seeing the supreme peaks as being spiritual, in the mystic realms above our earthly experience; Judaism puts the emphasis, here, in this worldly realm.