Rav Avigdor Miller on Seeing is Believing

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Q:
Why did משה רבינו want to see the Land of Israel before he died? He knew that he wasn’t going into ארץ ישראל anyhow. So what was so important about seeing the land before his death?
A:
I said it many times but I’ll say it once more. משה רבינו said to הקדוש ברוך הוא, “Show me the land. I want to see הארץ הטובה.” Now, why did he have to see it? Didn’t he trust Hashem? Hashem said it’s a good land! Why did he have to see it for himself?

Do you hear the question? It’s a good question. Why did he have to see? And the answer is the following: This is the secret of being alive. While you are alive, your חושים, your nerves, your physical sense of sight, helps you acquire a much sharper attitude of אהבת ה׳, than you would be able to get without seeing.

Seeing the land, was an added benefit for משה רבינו. It was an additional opportunity for משה רבינו to gain more awareness of Hashem. משה רבינו saw the good land and he said, “Oh, how beautiful is that land!” And there welled up in him a fountain of הכרת טוב, of gratitude to Hashem – something that wouldn’t have happened had he merely relied on what Hashem told him.

That’s why it’s so important for a person in this lifetime to appreciate עולם הזה, all the good things in this world. Here’s a man who thinks, “One day, I’ll go to גן עדן and I’ll have leisure and I’ll look back and I’ll appreciate everything I had.” No, no. It’ll be too late. Too late. After you’re in the Next World already, you lose your בחירה. And you lose your physical senses as well. Your physical senses are your opportunity to become more and more aware of Hashem. And in the next world, it’s already to late. You lost your opportunity.

So here we have משה רבינו and he’s going to be leaving this world very soon. So he says, “I want to see it while I’m alive.” משה רבינו wanted another opportunity to become even greater in the awareness of Hashem, and greater in love of Hashem. משה רבינו knew what he was in this world for. For one thing only – to accomplish! So Hashem said, “OK, I’m going to let you see it. And you have to know that it’s going to be a great opportunity for you.”

And משה רבינו became so happy and so grateful to Hashem when he saw the land. On a מדריגה, a level, that he never had before. Hashem had finally fulfilled His word. And that last bit of awareness and gratitude that משה רבינו gained is immeasurable. And משה רבינו knew that, and he therefore asked to see the Land.