The end of the journey was in sight. As the Jewish nation stood on the banks of the Jordan River, they could see the Land of Israel and feel the actualization of their destiny. Moshe, the dedicated leader, used these final days reviewing and reinforcing the tenets of faith and commitment to God.
“On that side of the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses commenced [and] explained this Law, saying, ‘The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying, ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and journey, and come to the mountain of the Amorites and to all its neighboring places, in the plain, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south and by the seashore, the land of the Canaanites, and the Lebanon, until the great river, the Euphrates River. See, I have set the land before you; come and possess the land which the Lord swore to your forefathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them and their descendants after them.’” (Devorim 1:5-8)
Rashi comments, “explained this Law”; He explained it to them in seventy languages. Not only did Moshe convey and explain the Torah and its accompanying mitzvos, but he translated the Torah into seventy languages. The great and pious Chassidic master, Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev (1740-1810) asks a simple question, “Why?” Why was it necessary to translate the Torah into seventy languages? The Rebbe explains that Moshe prophetically saw that we would undergo exile and persecution. Moshe saw that we would be driven from our land and would watch our precious Temples go up in flames. We would witness the deaths of millions over the millennia. Our beloved shepherd Moshe told us, “My precious children, you are about to enter the land of your ancestors, the land of your destiny. But the day will come when you have to leave, and you will find yourself in the dark night of exile. You may think that your relationship with God is dependent on your geographic proximity to Eretz Yisroel, but this is not the case. You have the ability to access and connect with God wherever you find yourself. Whether on the soil of Babylon, in the cities of Greece, or the colosseums of Rome. Whether you are suffering in the bitter cold of the Russian winter or transplanting yourself to the new world of America. Wherever you are, always know that your God is with you. Always know that Torah will light your path in whatever country or continent you find yourself. The Land of Israel possesses a unique singularity which cannot be replicated anywhere else. You cannot find the holiness of the Promised Land anywhere else in this world, but you can find God and His Torah anywhere and everywhere.” Moshe Rabbeinu translates the Torah into seventy languages to teach us that no matter where we go, our beautiful, magnificent, and holy Torah comes with us.
This concept does not only apply to geographic displacement. A person can be standing inside the Beis Hamikdash yet feel so far away. My body may be where it is supposed to be, but my heart and soul have been shattered in a million pieces because of tragedy and pain. Even when you are in your personal darkness, the Ribbono Shel Olam is right there with you. He holds you even when you do not feel the embrace. He looks out for you even when you feel exiled. Our personal Torah and relationship with Hashem follows even into the darkest recesses of my personal struggles.
This coming week we will observe the fast of Tisha B’Av. We will mourn for all that has been lost. We will cry for precious souls taken from us by the nations of the world. Yet, when we dry our tears, we see something beautiful. We still have our Torah and our relationship with God. We have travelled all over the world for the last 2,000 years. We have been embraced and expelled. We have been welcomed and driven out. Our geographic location changes, yet our spiritual connection always remains a constant. The Torah was written in 70 languages over 3,000 years ago to remind us that no matter where we find ourselves, we can reach out to God, and He will be there to love us, hold us, and one day soon, bring us back home.