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Moses now said to himself: "If God has determined that I may not enter the land of Israel, and I am thus to lose the reward for the many precepts that may be observed only in the Holy Land, for no other reason than because the time has come for my disciple Joshua to go to the front of Israel and lead them into the land, then were it better for me to remain alive, to enter the land, and relinquish to Joshua the leadership of the people." What now did Moses do? From the first day of Shebat to the sixth of Adar, the day before his death, he went and served Joshua from morning until evening, as a disciple his mater. These thirty-six days during which Moses served his former disciple corresponded to the equal number of years during which he had been served by Joshua.

The way in which Moses ministered to Joshua was as follows. During the period he arose at midnight, went to Joshua's door, opened it with a key, and taking a shirt from which he shook out the dust, laid it near to Joshua's pillow. He then cleaned Joshua's shoes and placed them beside the bed. Then he took his undergarment, his cloak, his turban, his golden helmet, and his crown of pearls, examined them to see if they were in good condition, cleaned and polished them, arranged them aright, and laid them on a golden chair. He then fetched a pitcher of water and a golden basin and placed them before the golden chair, so to wash himself. He then caused Joshua's rooms, which he furnished like his own, to be swept and put into order, the ordered the golden throne to be brought in, which he covered with a linen and a woolen cloth, and with other beautiful and costly garments, as in the custom with kings. After all these preparations had been made, he bade the herald proclaim: "Moses stands at Joshua's gate and announces that whosoever wishes to hear God's word should betake himself to Joshua, for he, according to God's word, is the leader of Israel."

When the people heard the herald, they trembled and shook, and pretended to have a headache, so that they might not have to go to Joshua. Every one of them said, in tears, "Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child!" But a voice from heaven resounded, crying, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him," and Earth, too, opened her mouth, and said, "I have been young, and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken." While the people refused to lend ear to the herald's summons, the elders of Israel, the leaders of the troops, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of thousands, of hundreds, and of tens appeared at Joshua's tent, and Moses assigned to each his place according to his rank.

In the meantime approached the hour when Joshua was wont to arise, whereupon Moses entered his room and extended his hand to him. When Joshua saw that Moses served him, he was ashamed to have his master minister to him, and taking the shirt out of Moses' hand, and dressing himself, trembling, he cast himself to Moses' feet and said: "O my master, be not the cause wherefore I should die before half my time is done, owing to the sovereignty God has imposed upon me." But Moses replied: "Fear not, my son, thou sinnest not if thou are served by me. With the measure wherewith thou didst mete out to me, do I mete out to thee; as with a pleasant face thou didst serve me, so shall I serve thee. It was I that taught thee, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself,' and also, 'Let thy pupil's honor be as dear to thee as thine own.'" Moses did not rest until Joshua seated himself upon the golden chair, and then Moses served Joshua, who still resisted, in every needful way. After he was through with all this, he laid upon Joshua, who still resisted, his rays of majesty, which he had received from his celestial teacher Zagzagel, scribe of the angels, at the close of his instruction in all the secrets of the Torah.

When Joshua was completely dressed and ready to go out, they reported to him and to Moses that all Israel awaited them. Moses thereupon laid his hand upon Joshua to lead him out of the tent, and quite against Joshua's wish insisted upon giving precedence to him as they stepped forth. When Israel saw Joshua precede Moses, they all trembled, arose, and made room for these two to proceed to the place of the great, where stood the golden throne, upon which Moses seated Joshua against his will. All Israel burst into tears when they saw Joshua upon the golden throne, and he said amid tears, "why all this greatness and honor to me?" [898]

In this way did Moses spend the time from the first day of Shebat to the sixth of Adar, during which time he expounded the Torah to the sixty myriads of Israel in seventy languages.

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