Where does it speak about the fact that we don't know where Moshe Rabbeinu is buried?

I've heard the reason is that G-d did this in order that people shouldn't go to the gravesite to "worship" him (or something along those lines.)

What's the reason for the gravesite of Moshe Rabbeinu not being Known?


2 Answers 2


Deuteronomy 34 6: ולא ידע איש את קברתו עד היום הזה.

In סוטה י׳ד ע׳א we find רבי חמא בר חנינא giving the reason it was hidden so that the Jews would not be able to go pray at his grave when going into galus.

אמר רבי חמא בר חנינא מפני מה נסתר מקום קבורתו של משה מעיני בשר ודם, שגלוי וידוע לפני הקב׳ה שעתיד בית המקדש ליחרב וישראל יגלו מארצם, שמא יבאו לקברו של משה ויתחננו, ועומד משה ומבטל את הגזירה מפני שחביבים צדיקים במיתתם יותר מבחייהם.

There is a somewhat different reason found in פסיקתא זוטרתא. So that it should become a site for prayers and idol worship.

דלכן לא נודע מקום קבורתו כדי שלא יהיו ישראל הולכין ומניחין שם בית המקדש ומזבחים ומקטרים שם. וכדי שלא יטמאו אומות העולם את קברתו בפסיליהם ובתועבותיהם.

  • 1
    I suppose we both gave the same answers...
    – user9907
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 2:07
  • B.H shekivanu;)
    – user6591
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 2:09
  • Why is the Pisiktah in the sefer? which "piskah" is it?
    – Yehoshua
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 10:31
  • @Yehoshua try ר ע׳ב. & I'm not sure what you mean by 'why?'
    – user6591
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 11:12

Deuteronomy 34:5-6:

וַיָּ֨מָת שָׁ֜ם מֹשֶׁ֧ה עֶֽבֶד־יְהוָ֛ה בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מוֹאָ֖ב עַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָֽה׃ וַיִּקְבֹּ֨ר אֹת֤וֹ בַגַּיְ֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מוֹאָ֔ב מ֖וּל בֵּ֣ית פְּע֑וֹר וְלֹֽא־יָדַ֥ע אִישׁ֙ אֶת־קְבֻ֣רָת֔וֹ עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃

So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he was buried in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth-peor; and no man knows of his grave unto this day (translation from Sefaria, mostly).

As for why Hashem acted in this manner:

1) The Bayit Chadash (Bach) on Sotah 14a states that Hashem knew in advance that He would destroy the Temple and exile Bnei Yisrael, and if He had informed them of Moshe's grave site, they would have prayed there, and Moshe would have entreated Hashem (successfully) to repeal the decree. Assumingly, if Bnei Yisrael cannot pray at his grave, then he, the greatest defense attorney of the Jewish people (see Cheit Ha'Egel, Meraglim, Korach) cannot come to their aid.

2) Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch explains that it was so that his grave site would not become a shrine and he would not be worshiped, in the manner that other religions tend to act (Christianity, for example).

(Thank you to @Baby Seal for pointing me to the Bach.)

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