How did Moshe merit to bless Yisrael with this great blessing?
(33,1) “And this is the blessing which Moshe, the man of G-d, blessed the children of Yisrael before his death.”
We can explain that the reason why the posuk says “Moshe, man of G-d, blessed the children of Yisrael”, is because Moshe Rabbeinu was only a man of G-d with the children of Yisrael, but without them he did not merit to be a man of G-d. This is in accordance with Chazal’s explanation of the posuk in Shemos 32:7 “Go, descend” - from your high position. Hashem said to Moshe: I only gave you this high position for the sake of Yisrael. Now that they have sinned, descend from it. Thus it says “a man of G-d את the children of Yisrael”. The word את here means 'with' - with the children of Yisrael he became a man of G-d.
Now, in the Midrash Tanchuma it says: “And this is the blessing” - it is fitting for Moshe to bless Yisrael, because he constantly gave his life for them. Therefore it says “and this is the blessing”. This Midrash is very puzzling - what exactly is it trying to say? It seems that it had a difficulty with the phrase “and this is the blessing”, firstly because the word ‘this’ is completely superfluous, since it could have said “and Moshe blessed the children of Yisrael before his death”. And even if it wanted to say “this”, it could have at least said “this is the blessing”, because the word ‘and’ is completely superfluous, since the rule is that whenever it says ‘and’ it comes to continue an earlier matter, but here what relevance does it have with the previous parsha. Therefore it should have said simply “this is the blessing”.
This is what the Tanchuma is coming to explain, that behold, the previous parsha concluded that Hashem said to Moshe “for from afar you will see the land, but you will not come there, to the land which I am giving to the children of Yisrael”. I asked above at the end of parshas Ha’azinu that the words “which I am giving to the children of Yisrael” are superfluous, because we in any case know this, and all the more so since Hashem had already said initially “go up this Mount Avarim to Mount Nevo…and see the land of Canaan which I am giving to the children of Yisrael as a possession”, so why does He need to repeat it? I explained there that Moshe died in order to bring his people, the generation of the wilderness, into Eretz Yisrael. And from the Midrash on parshas Shelach Lecha on the posuk “send for yourself…and they will scout the land of Canaan which I am giving to the children of Yisrael”, it implies there the phrase “which I am giving to the children of Yisrael” refers to the generations of the future in the days of Moshiach. Therefore, this is what the posuk is saying: “from afar you shall see the land, but you will not go there”. But don’t think that it is because you are not fitting to enter the land, but rather because it is “the land which I am giving to the children of Yisrael” - since the land is being given primarily to the children of Yisrael of the generation of Moshiach, therefore you cannot enter until they will come with you. This is a summary of my words there.
From this it is clear that Moshe Rabbeinu gave his life for Yisrael, and therefore merited to bless them. This is what it says “And this is the blessing” - continuing the previous section, that because he gave his life for Yisrael and was not entering the land, therefore he merited that “this is the blessing which Moshe blessed…”.
With this we can understand what it writes further in the Midrash Tanchuma, that the posuk “and this is the blessing” is explained by the posuk in Mishlei 31:29 “Many daughters have done valiantly, but you have excelled them all”. What does the Midrash mean?
But we can explain that Midrash understood from the word ‘and’ like we just explained, that Moshe Rabbeinu only merited to bless Yisrael because he gave his life for Yisrael. But this is difficult, because there were many tzaddikim who blessed Yisrael even though they did not give their life for them, so why did the Torah give this reason by Moshe? Therefore it said that this posuk is explained by “many daughters…”, meaning, that the blessings of Moshe were more precious than the blessings of others, and therefore his blessings would not have been able to have been given except because he gave his life for Yisrael.
When does the Shechinah dwell amongst Yisrael?
(33,5) “And there was in Yeshurun a king ,when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Yisrael together. May Reuven live and not die, and may his people be counted in the number.”
It seems that the flow of these posuk is that the Shechinah (Divine Presence) only dwells amongst Yisrael when the twelve tribes are complete. Therefore, because of this it was imperative that Yehudah and Reuven be forgiven for their sins in order that the number of tribes should be complete.
This is what the posuk is saying “And there was in Yeshurun a king, when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Yisrael together”. That is, if the tribes of Yisrael will be together then there will be in Yeshurun (Yisrael) a King - the Shechinah will dwell amongst them. It follows from this that it was imperative that “may Reuven live and not die”, in order that “his people be counted in the number” - the number of Yisrael, to complete the number twelve, and the Shechinah will dwell amongst them.
How does hard work save lives?
(33,7) “And this is for Yehudah, and he said…his hands shall contend for him, and You shall be a help against his adversaries.”
It seems that the meaning of this posuk is according to the Midrash on parshas Vayeitzei, which comments that work is greater than the merit of the forefathers. That whereas the merit of the forefathers saves from monetary loss, as Ya'akov said to Lavan in Bereishis 31:42 “Had not the G-d of Avrohom and the Fear of Yitzchok been for me, you would have sent me away empty handed”, work saves lives, as Ya'akov continued, “G-d has seen my affliction and the toil of my hands, and He reproved you last night”, and warned you not to harm me. From this it is clear that to be saved from the enemy is impossible except through work.
This is what the posuk is saying, that Moshe Rabbeinu was blessing Yehudah that “his hands should contend for him”, that is, that he should sustain himself from the work of his hands, and then through this “You shall be help against his adversaries” - in the merit of his work You will be a help against his enemies, because work saves life.