Go and Come: A Short, Simple Explanation

Sometimes Torah explanations are simpler than they seem.

Near the end of Moses’ life, he says: “I am now one hundred and twenty years old, I can no longer go and come.” (Deut 31:2)

Commentators have wrapped themselves in knots trying to explain why this phrase is used, why “go” happens before “come,” ad infinitum.

The explanation is actually trivial: Much earlier in the Torah, we are told that, “Whenever Moses went out to the Tent, all the people would rise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he had come into the Tent.” (Ex. 33:8)

The Hebrew words match: Moses would “go” and then he would “come.” This was his daily routine!

So when he says “I can no longer go and come,” he is saying that he can no longer manage his daily routine, that he could no longer fulfill his duties. There is no obvious mystery in the phrase.

[An @iwe and @eliyahumasinter tidbit]

Comments are welcome!