Updated: Jul 18
Moses sought to fashion Joshua as an overflowing vessel of wisdom and knowledge, ensuring he would be fully equipped to lead. The laying of hands by Moses on Joshua symbolized the transmission of blessings and spiritual energy, empowering Joshua to embody wisdom and fulfill his leadership role. On the fourth portion of Parshas Pinchas
"He laid his hands upon him and commanded him, in accordance with what the Lord had spoken to Moses." This verse captures a pivotal moment in the transition of leadership from Moses to Joshua.
WHY HANDS? BLESSINGS ARE SPOKEN
In the act of laying hands, we witness the profound power of touch, connection, and transmission. It serves as a tangible expression of the spiritual bond that unites leaders and their successors, emphasizing the importance of direct contact in conveying blessings and spiritual energy.
Through the touch of hands, blessings are not only spoken but physically transferred. It is a sacred and transformative moment, where the spiritual legacy is entrusted to the next generation. The touch becomes a conduit through which authority, guidance, and the Divine presence flow.
This physical connection between the bestower and recipient goes beyond symbolism. It is a tangible transfer of spiritual energy, wisdom, and empowerment. It affirms the continuity of wisdom and the perpetuation of spiritual legacy, relying on the intimate connection between generations.
It is interesting to note that Rashi explains that Moses went beyond what was commanded by using both hands instead of just one. He did this to fashion Joshua like an overflowing vessel of wisdom and knowledge. Moses, with his abundance of experience and understanding, wanted to ensure that Joshua would be fully equipped to lead the people of Israel.
The Midrash from Sifrei Bamidbar 141:3 further expounds on this concept. It draws a parallel between Moses laying his hands on Joshua and the verse "the watcher of the fig-tree will eat its fruit." This imagery suggests that Joshua would bear abundant fruit, representing his role as an overflowing vessel of Torah. Joshua was blessed with an abundance of knowledge and wisdom, ensuring that he would guide the nation with insight and understanding.
The Midrash also highlights Joshua's unwavering dedication to Torah. It cites Exodus 33:11, which describes Joshua's constant presence in the tent of meeting, where he learned from Moses and absorbed the teachings of the Divine presence. Joshua's steadfast devotion to Torah paved the way for his successful leadership.
Additionally, the Midrash emphasizes that Moses transmitted the mantle of leadership to Joshua with joy. Just as God had commanded Moses with joy, Moses passed on this joy to Joshua, signifying the significance and happiness associated with the transmission of leadership. Moses ensured that the transition was not merely a duty but a moment of enthusiasm and celebration.
The Midrash also addresses any concern about Moses' capabilities diminishing with age. It reminds us that even at the age of 120, Moses's eye had not dimmed in discerning between the clean and unclean, and his strength had not abated in his devotion to Torah study. This highlights Moses' unwavering dedication and serves as a reminder that age is no barrier to learning, growth, and spiritual strength.
Bringing all these insights together, we are reminded of the profound dedication and love that Moses had for the people of Israel. Moses, through his actions, sought to ensure that Joshua would not only assume leadership but would become a vessel overflowing with wisdom, embodying the essence of Torah.
Joshua's unwavering commitment to the study of Torah and his continuous presence in the tent of meeting demonstrated his readiness to guide the people.
In Kabbalah and Chassidut, the act of laying hands on someone represents the transfer and transmission of spiritual energy and Divine influence. It signifies the passing of a spiritual legacy from one individual to another, allowing the recipient to inherit and embody the qualities, knowledge, and spiritual power of the bestower.
This transmission of spiritual energy is represented by the overflowing vessel mentioned in the Midrash. Joshua, being filled to the brim with wisdom, becomes an embodiment of the potential of the Jewish people to receive and internalize the Divine teachings.
This symbolizes the ideal state of all individuals, as every person has the potential to be a vessel overflowing with spiritual knowledge and connection.
The ultimate purpose of leadership is to prepare and guide the world towards the Messianic era. Moshiach is described as a figure who possesses extraordinary wisdom, spiritual awareness, and the ability to unite and uplift all of humanity. The transmission of wisdom from Moses to Joshua foreshadows the role of Moshiach in bestowing Divine knowledge and bringing enlightenment to the world.
Ultimately, this teaching invites us to tap into our own potential as vessels capable of receiving and sharing Divine wisdom. It reminds us that we have the ability to bring about a Messianic consciousness by embodying the qualities of Joshua, the overflowing vessel of Torah.
Through joyful learning, dedication, and a commitment to continuous growth, we can contribute to the transformation and ultimate redemption of ourselves and the world, heralding the era of Moshiach.