I heard that Moshe Rabbeinu asked H'shem to be allowed to fulfill the Mitzvot of Eretz Israel, but He answered him: "You won't be able to enter Israel, but as you have studied all the Mitzvot, I will grant you merit as if you had indeed fulfilled them."

The Gemara in Sotah 14a states that Moshe asked to enter Israel to fulfill these Mitzvot, but H'shem said:"אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כְּלוּם אַתָּה מְבַקֵּשׁ אֶלָּא לְקַבֵּל שָׂכָר מַעֲלֶה אֲנִי עָלֶיךָ כְּאִילּוּ עֲשִׂיתָם"

The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: Do you seek to enter the land to perform these mitzvot for any reason other than to receive a reward? I will ascribe you credit as if you had performed them and you will receive your reward.

Here we see that Moshe received the merit, but it does not say that he received it due to his learning of the Mitzvot. Does anyone know if this is correct? And if it is, does anyone know the source?

  • In terms of teaching (bringing others to observance, the Ben Yehoyada discusses this, and we read in Pirkei Avot משֶׁה זָכָה וְזִכָּה אֶת הָרַבִּים, זְכוּת הָרַבִּים תָּלוּי בּוֹ
    – rosends
    Jun 28, 2022 at 12:54
  • Welcome to MiYodeya Renan and thanks for this first question. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Jun 28, 2022 at 13:01
  • "does anyone know the source" of what? That Moshe wasn't given the merit through study? What's wrong with the source you provided
    – robev
    Jun 28, 2022 at 13:06
  • @robev I understood that OP is asking whether the original claim (that Moshe got merit because of study) is true, and if so what the source is.
    – Esther
    Jun 28, 2022 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


According to the sefer "אור דוד", written by דוד בן שלום הכהן (David ben Shalom HaKohen), if a person is (mentally) suffering (in distress) because he cannot fulfill mitzvot (inabillity to keep this or that mitzvah), this person is raised as if he fulfilled all those mitzvot.

או אחרת מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו עשאה וכן אמרו חז"ל הלומד זבחים ומנחות או האומר סדר הקרבנות מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו הקריבן וכן אמרו מחשבה טובה הקדוש ברוך הוא מצרפה למעשה כל שכן אם זו לא רק מחשבה אלא גם הבעה של צער על חוסר האפשרות לקיימה הרי בודאי שהקדוש ברוך הוא מחשיב גם את המחשבה וגם את הרצון למעשה

There are different mitzvot in Eretz Yisrael, the author of Or David writes:

יש מצוות השייכות למלך ויש לכהנים ויש לבכורים וכו' There are mitzvot that belong to the king, priests and firstborns

So, when Moshe Rabbeinu asked G-d to fulfill (all) those mitzvot, G-d saw that Moshe Rabbeinu really wanted to fulfill them all, and to this applies the statement of the Or David. Namely, that in this case, scripture raises this person as if he fulfilled them all.

The Torah states (Bereishis 32:5):

עִם־לָבָ֣ן גַּ֔רְתִּי - Im Lavan Garti; I lived as a stranger with Lavan.

Rashi seems to understands this the Midrashic way, namely that the word "גרתי" has the same numerical value (gematria) of 613 commandments- תרי״ג. Yaakov was learning about the mitzvot, and the Torah regards him as if he fulfilled them all. Hence, תרי״ג.

This is what the Or David also writes:

ואחר עד עתה בראשית ל ד ופרש"י עם לבן גרתי ותרי"ג מצוות שמרתי ולא למדתי ממעשיו הרעים ואף כאן יש לתמוה איך יתכן לומר שיעקב אבינו קיים את המצוות כולן בביתו של לבן שהיה בחוץ לארץ וכל המצוות התלויות בארץ וכן עוד מצוות רבות אחרות לא יכול היה לקיים בשום פנים

In "Shira Smiles shiur – December 3, 2011/Kislev 8, 5772", summarized by Channie Koplowitz Stein, he cites the Mikdash Halevi (written by Rav Dunam) and says:

Nevertheless, Yaakov continued to study all the mitzvoth, to guard them and keep them in his heart, and so Hashem counts it as if he had actually observed them, as the Mikdash Halevi, Rav Dunam explains.

  • @Renan Suchmacher. Does this answer the question? If so, please consider upvoting/checking it.
    – Shmuel
    Oct 26, 2023 at 20:06

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