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When God in wrath against Moses and Aaron vowed, "Therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them," Moses forbore to implore God to do away with this sentence, acting in accordance with the percept, "Do not attempt to dissolve thy neighbor's vow in the moment he hath made it." Moses waited forty years before he approached God with the request to permit him to enter the promised land with Israel. [870] This occurred when he had received God's command to appoint Joshua as his successor, for he now perceived that God had actually resolved to execute His sentence. [871] For although God had ten times decreed that Moses was to die in the desert, still Moses had not troubled much about it, even when the resolution had been sealed in the heavenly court. He thought: "How often did Israel sin, and yet, when I prayed for them, He annulled the punishment He had decreed; surely God should accept my prayer, if I - a man who never sinned - should pray to Him." [872] Moses had also a special reason for assuming that God had changed His determination concerning him, and would not permit him to enter the promised land, for he had been permitted to enter the part of Palestine lying on this side of the Jordan, the land of Sihon and of Og, and from this he reasoned that God had not irrevocably decreed punishment for him, and that it might therefore now be recalled [873] He was strengthened in this assumption by the fact that after the conquest of the east-Jordanic region God revealed to him the instructions as to how the land was to be divided, and it seemed to him as if he were in person to carry out these instructions. He was, however, mistaken, for shortly after these laws had been revealed to him, God informed him that he was to look upon the promised land from Mount Abarin, as he should never enter it. [874]

When God saw that Moses was not much concerned about the impending punishment, He sealed the command He had issued against him, and swore by His Ineffable Name that Moses should not march into the land. Moses thereupon put on sackcloth, threw himself upon the ashes, and prayed not less than fifteen hundred prayers for the annulment of the Divine resolve against him. He drew a circle about himself, stood in the center of it, and said, "I will not move from this spot until judgement shall have been suspended." Heaven and earth, as well as all the forms of creation, trembled and said, "Perhaps it is God's wish to destroy this world, to create a new universe." But a voice sounded from heaven and said: "God's wish to destroy the world has not yet come, the commotion in nature is due to this that 'in God's hand is the soul of all living things and the spirit of all flesh,' even the spirit of the man Moses, whose end is not at hand."

God then bade them proclaim in heaven, and in all the celestial courts of justice, that they should not accept Moses' prayers, and that no angel was to carry Moses' prayer to Him, because Moses' doom of death had been sealed by Him. God quickly called before Him the Angel Akraziel, who is the celestial herald, and bade him proclaim the following in heaven: "Descend at once and lock every single gate in heaven, that Moses' prayer may not ascend into it." Then, at Moses' prayer, trembled heaven and earth, all the foundations thereof and the creatures therein, for his prayer was like a sword that slashed and rends, and can in no wise be parried, for in it was the power of the Ineffable Name that Moses had learned from his teacher Zagzagel, the teacher and scribe of the celestial beings. But when the Galgalim and Seraphim saw that God did not accept Moses' prayer, and without taking consideration of him did not grant his prayer for longer life, they all opened their mouths, saying: "Praised be the glory of the Lord from its place, for there is no injustice before Him, no forgetfulness, no respect of persons toward the small or the great." [875]

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