I entreated the L‑rd at that time, saying, “O L‑rd G‑d, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand, for who is [like] G‑d in heaven or on earth who can do as Your deeds and Your might? Pray let me cross over and see the good land that is on the other side of the Jordan . . .” (Deuteronomy 3:23–25)

On the verge of crossing the Jordan River, Moses, in his farewell address, tells the people of Israel how he implored G‑d to allow him to enter the land of Israel. “Let me cross over,” Moses pleaded, “and let me see the good land.” The Hebrew word etchanan means “to beseech,” and the Midrash says that Moses prayed 515 times, the numeric value of the word va’etchanan. In the painting, Moses’ very being seems to be projected to a higher level, as his profuse supplications reverberate with energy in the brushstrokes that ascend upwards.

The impetus for his request is the feeling of being swept up by the victories over Sichon and Og, and his hope that he will also participate in a great victory march into the Land. Moses cannot imagine himself not entering the Land with the people. The colors in the painting reflect the uplifting spirit of the time, the earth tones infused with a soft golden light.

Moses’ lifetime wish was not granted, but his prayer was partially answered. “Go up to the top of the hill,” G‑d said to Moses, “and see it with your eyes.” In the painting this is portrayed by the smaller figure standing on a higher plateau, engulfed by a vision of the good land. After praying fervently 515 prayers to be able to go into the Land of Israel, in his last words Moses says that “the deeds of the [Mighty] Rock are perfect, for all His ways are just; a faithful G‑d, without injustice; He is righteous and upright.”