Where the story should end


I was struck by the story by John Ward on August 22 comparing the late Jack Layton to Moses (A”H). [See it here: http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=n7842968%5D It is an obvious comparison but I wasn’t expecting it in the popular press.

And, oddly enough, I had just been discussing a few days ago why the Torah ends with Moshe’s death and not with Israel’s entry in to the land. The Greeks would have approved the decision to close the Torah with Moshe’s death on dramatic principles. Aristotle suggested that a well made play should have unity of action–i.e., that it should describe an action, whole and complete, and with a beginning, a middle, and an end. For me, the action that the Torah describes is the formation of the Jewish people under Moshe’s leadership. That is what Moshe, our protagonist, is engaged in for most of his life and, with the completion of that action, the story should end and does end. What is to happen to that newly formed people as they move beyond Moshe’s leadership is, literally, a different story!

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