As Moses began to convey his blessings to each of the tribes of Israel on the last day of his life, he reminded them of the Giving of the Torah 40 years prior:

The L‑rd came from Sinai and shone forth from Seir to them; He appeared from Mount Paran and came with some of the holy myriads; from His right hand was a fiery Law for them.1

Throughout history, the Jewish people refer to Moses as Moshe Rabeynu, Moses our Teacher, because while Moses did many great things for the Jewish people—from liberating them from Egypt to conquering the lands east of the Jordan River—conveying the Torah was by far his greatest achievement.

How, then, does Moses describe the Torah in his final words to his beloved people? What words, images, or metaphors does he use to convey its preciousness? How does he inspire them to do all in their power to transmit it to future generations?

There is so much to say about the Torah. He could have said “The Torah is infinite Divine wisdom made available to the finite human mind,” or “The Torah is the greatest moral code,” or “The Torah will fill your life with inspiration,” or “The Torah will give meaning to your existence.” Moses, however, said something entirely different:

The Torah that Moses commanded us is an inheritance for the congregation of Jacob.2

Moses understood that in order for the Torah to survive the test of time, in order for it to be transmitted and studied throughout the generations, more than telling the Jews about any particular quality of the Torah or what it would add to his life or her life, it was vital to make sure they understood that the Torah is their inheritance.

What is an inheritance, and how does it differ from other forms of acquisition?

When purchasing something, the buyer “earns” that which is being purchased. I.e., the buyer receives the item in consideration of money being paid. When receiving a gift, there is a reason the gift is given to this particular person. The Talmud explains that the giver gives a gift because the recipient gives the giver some form of pleasure, joy, or satisfaction. In other words, while the recipient of the gift did not pay for the gift monetarily, the gift is “payment” for the intangible satisfaction the recipient gives to the giver. The transfer of ownership from one party to another can only occur if the recipient wants the transfer to take effect.

Inheritance is an entirely different story.3

A person may have a child who is all of one day old. The person may have never seen his child, and may not even know that the child exists. The child has no capacity to understand that there is an estate and he is its heir. And yet the transfer takes effect. The heir inherits the estate in its entirety, not because of anything he did, and not because he wants it, but because of the essential bond they share. The child inherits from the parent not because the child is deserving, but because deep down, on the soul level, they are one entity.

The Torah is the inheritance of every Jew. Even if the Jew is not aware of the preciousness of the Torah, even if the Jew does not want the Torah and even tries to escape it, he and the Torah are one.

The Torah may or may not be the bestselling book out there, but it is our book; our story.

The Torah is our inheritance because at the core of our identity we yearn to hear its words, its stories, and its teachings. The Torah is our inheritance because of the essential bond between the Torah and the Jewish soul. The Torah is our inheritance because no matter how much knowledge we acquire, our soul will still yearn for something deeper. No matter how many libraries of wisdom we acquire, our soul will still yearn for the Torah. Because the Jew, the Torah, and the Holy One Blessed be He are all one.