I believe Moshe Rabbeinu's death is recorded several times within the Torah, but for instance here's the part recorded in Devarim:

Devarim 34:5-6

And Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there, in the land of Moab, by the mouth of the Lord.

And He buried him in the valley, in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Pe'or. And no person knows the place of his burial, unto this day.

[Translation from Chabad.org]

The point is that no one knew where Moshe Rabbeinu was buried, even until this day. From the narrative, it seems that Hashem "hid" his grave. I have read and heard many interpretations as to why Hashem hid his grave, including that He didn't want Moshe's grave to become a shrine for avodah zarah, He didn't want the Bnei Yisrael to feel like they couldn't move on from where their leader was buried, etc.

But one thing really stands out to me. Devarim Rabbah 3:16 says that Moshe will accompany Eliyahu HaNavi in the end of days. This really struck out to me, because we know that Eliyahu went up to Shamayim alive, as recorded in Melachim II 2. If they are to come together, it would seem to make perfect sense that Moshe, like Eliyahu, did not die, but that he was taken up to Shamayim.

This would explain why his grave spot is unknown.

I suppose my question is, are there any sources that would support this claim? I am not specifically looking for sources from the Rishonim, but if they exist, then that would be best.

  • 8
    Since it specifically says that Moshe Rabbeinu died, why should there be any idea that he did not die? Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 16:47
  • 2
    @sabbahillel - In Sefer Yeshayah it says specifically that King Uziyahu died, but the mefarshim interpret that to mean he got tzara'at. (Yeshayah 6:1) Why the downvote?
    – ezra
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 16:48
  • 2
    "This really struck out to me, because we know that Eliyahu went up to Shamayim alive, as recorded in Melachim II 2. If they are to come together, it would seem to make perfect sense that Moshe, like Eliyahu, did not die" Huh? Why does one follow from the other? Haven't you heard of the resurrection of the dead?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:07
  • Burial does not necessarily correlate with death. There are many dead people who were never buried, and, as we have learned from recent history, many have been buried alive. We assume that such people eventually died, but we have no definitive proof. (Sept. 11 as an example.) Here, the Torah specifically uses the term "He died", and it repeats that idea at the beginning of Yehoshua. Re: King Uziah - please specify which commentary said this so that I can research it. Offhand, leprous people, IIRC are considered "dead" (See what Aharon says about Miriam when she was leprous.)
    – DanF
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:07
  • What exactly would you accept as proof that he actually died?
    – user6591
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


From a sefer on Techiyat Hameitim, To Live and Live Again:

There is an opinion that certain righteous individuals will be resurrected at the outset with the arrival of Mashiach.12 As a reward for their lifelong divine service, they will thus be privileged to participate in the universal rejoicing that will accompany his arrival, and to witness the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash.

Similarly, there is an opinion that Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon and his sons will be resurrected before Mashiach comes, so that they will be able to instruct the people as they did at the time of the Exodus.13


12 See Zohar I, 140a; Chiddushei Ritva on Rosh HaShanah 16b; Responsa of Radvaz, Vol. III, sections 1069, 644; Migdal David, p. 83a; Biurei HaZohar of the Tzemach Tzedek, p. 134. See also Sichos Kodesh 5710 (Kehot), p. 100, and Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 518.

Even according to this opinion the Resurrection of the righteous will take place in the Land of Israel, and those buried in the Diaspora will be conveyed there by means of underground conduits (cf. ch. 7 below). See at length in Emunas HaTechiyah, ch. 5. In Sichos Kodesh 5714, Yud Shvat, the Rebbe speaks of how the Ohel partakes of the holiness of Eretz Yisrael since it will be connected with these conduits.

13 See Aruch LaNer on Niddah 61b; Tosafos on Pesachim 114b; Yoma 5b; Ikkarim 4:35. Midrash Rabbah, at the end of Parshas Eikev, states that Moshe Rabbeinu will come together with Eliyahu HaNavi (the Prophet Elijah). Elsewhere, in Parshas Vaes’chanan 2:10, the Midrash states that Moshe was buried in the desert together with his people so that upon Resurrection he will lead them all to the Land. Combining these two Midrashim, it would seem that Moshe together with his whole generation will be resurrected and will appear with Eliyahu upon the arrival of Mashiach. (This opinion is cited in the Responsa entitled Lev Chaim, Vol. I, p. 32.) In Hilchos Melachim 12:2, Rambam notes that there is no uniform view as to exactly when in the Messianic process Eliyahu will arrive.

  • The question was whether or not Moshe died. How does this large swath of copied text answer that question?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:09
  • 1
    The question was that there is a Midrash that seems to indicate that Moshe did not die, since he will accompany Eliyahu at the end of days. This large swatch of copied text answers that Moshe will accompany Eliyahu not because he did not die, but because he will be resurrected
    – Menachem
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:19
  • No it wasn't. Reread the question carefully. The Midrash was the motivation for the question. Nowhere does the OP identify it as the subject of the question. Instead, he simply asks if Moshe died.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:25
  • Furthermore, even were that the OP's question, this seems like a non-answer. How would it provide any more evidence that the Torah itself which states וימת שם משה. This just shows one contemporary claim that doesnt contradict an explicit verse in the Torah. Hardly very valuable. (Of course looking up some of those cited sources might make for an answer depending on what they say).
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:29
  • 2
    Lastly, it seems difficult to infer anything meaningful from the English word resurrection in this context. While Elijah may not be as dead as people who have passed, he presumably isn't how he used to be, to say the least. This could legitimately be refereed to as resurrection. Similarly, the cited source just states that Moshe will be brought back. Obviously this is a radical change, as he obviously isn't strolling around, or very active these days. This doesn't any evidence whatsoever regarding the question of the nature of his current state.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 18:32

There is actually one opinion in Sotah 13,b that Moses didn't die, and it seems that Maimonides accepted this opinion in the introduction to his commentary on the Mishnah.

ויש אומרים לא מת משה כתיב הכא וימת שם וכתיב התם (שמות לד) ויהי שם עם ה' מה להלן עומד ומשמש אף כאן עומד ומשמש - סוטה יג, ב

אח"כ עלה אל ההר בחצי היום השביעי (ספרי פ' האזינו) לחדש אדר (מגילה דף יג:) כפי אשר דקדקה הקבלה. והיה המקרה ההוא אשר קראו מות בעינינו בשביל שחסרנו ופקדנו אותו וחיים לו לכבוד המעלה שעלה אליה וכן אמרו (סוטה דף יג:) משה רבינו ע"ה לא מת אלא עלה ומשמש במרום והדברים באלו הענינים ארוכים מאד ואין זה מקומם. - הקדמת פירוש המשניות להרמב"ם

  • I don't see that opinion expressed in Sotah 13b. Maybe you could point it out to me? Additionally, a source would be nice for the statement, "Maimonides accepted this opinion."
    – ezra
    Commented Jul 13, 2017 at 14:04
  • 2
    Does anybody else realize the irony of the statement “משה רבנו עליו השלום לא מת”
    – Lo ani
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 18:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .