Transitions. Graduating from high school. Graduating from college. Graduating from a professional school, like law school or medical school. Landing your first job. Marrying your sweetheart. Rearing your children. Repeating the cycle. Retiring from your job. Finding another job. The birth of your grandchildren.
Ilan was born in May 2011 when I was 62 years old. My status was a grandfather made me old. (Parenthetically, my father became a grandfather at 58 years old.)
I retired from the Prosecutor’s Office when I was 62 years old in 2010. I had attended the Academy for Jewish Religion since 2005, I was ordained in 2014. The transition from the Prosecutor’s Office to the pulpit at Ahavas Sholom was smooth, because I knew since 2005 that I wanted to be a rabbi.
Moses faced the ultimate transition. “I am now one hundred twenty years old. I can’t go and come.” That is the second verse in this week’s Torah portion. The Torah does teach what Moses’ first job was. The Torah does teach that Moses married his sweetheart. The Torah doesn’t teach us that Moses reared his children, because he was busy with the Children of Israel. The Torah doesn’t teach us that Moses had grandchildren. The Torah, abruptly, announces Moses’ retirement.
I retired from the Prosecutor’s Office and did not look back. In this week’s Torah portion, Moses retired from the leadership of the Israelites. Moses did not look back, on the contrary, he looked forward. He told Joshua, “Be strong and resolute.” He wrote a song, probably Ha-azinu, the next week’s portion, to bolster the Israelites. A leader to the end, Moses criticized the Children of Israel to make them follow God’s commandments.