SeeStan ChapLee

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Moses reported abducted (2)

Moses in an almost unknown
painting by S. Dalí (detail)
The Bible (Deut. 34: 6) simply says that nobody knows the place in which Moses was buried. Surely Tasso is drawing on some ancient Jewish tradition, such as were known also by Christians, see especially the apocryphal book called The Assumption of Moses. For a midrash on the subject, this PDF file in Italian can be read - a link kindly provided by the "Ragazze Sisters" (see their website). Here's a translation of some pertinent lines:

The verse "If his height even reached the sky . . ." (Job 20: 6) refers to Moses, who ascended up to the heavenly dwellings, and whose feet stepped on the cloud enveloping the Divine Majesty, and who, being like the angels in everything, spoke to the Holy One - may He be blessed -, face to face, receiving the Torah from Him. But, as his end was close at hand, the Lord said, "Lo, the time is approaching, etc." (Deut. 31: 14) . . .  Then the Holy One - may He be blessed - called Moses' soul: "Daughter, I have been keeping you in Moses' body for 120 years; now your last term has come, you must come out of it. Get out, don't hesitate!" And the soul said: "Lord of the universe! I know You are the God of All, the Lord of every soul. You created me, You left me in Moses' body 120 years. But does any body purer than Moses' exist on earth? I love it, I don't want to abandon it!" "Come out!" replied the Holy One - may He be blessed. "And I will place your seat just below the throne of my Majesty, next to the Cherubim and Seraphim." Then the Holy One - may He be blessed - kissed Moses, and He picked his soul in a kiss.