In this week’s parasha Moshe instructs the Jewish People and Yehoshua with the words חזק ואמץ, be strong and courageous. After Moshe passes away, we find that HaShem enjoins Yehoshua with these words three times (See Yehoshua 1:6;7 and 9 and also Ibid verse 18, where the tribes of Reuven and Gad also use this terminology to encourage Yehoshua). What is the significance of these words and why specifically did HaShem and Moshe use these words for Yehoshua and the Jewish People upon entering into Eretz Yisroel?
Another instance where we find these words is in the verse that states (Tehillim 27:14) קַוֵּה אֶל יְ-ה-וָ-ה חֲזַק וְיַאֲמֵץ לִבֶּךָ וְקַוֵּה אֶל י-ְה-ו-ָה, hope to HaShem, be strong and He will give your heart courage, and hope for HaShem. Rashi comments on the redundancy of the words וְקַוֵּה אֶל י-ְה-ו-ָה and he writes, “if your prayers are not answered, continue to hope. “Clearly, Dovid HaMelech is giving us a message of hope. We are always praying for one thing or another, and often it appears that our prayers are not answered. Dovid HaMelech therefore enjoins us to keep on praying. Similarly, HaShem and Moshe were notifying Yehoshua and the Jewish People that as they embark on the conquest of Eretz Yisroel, they should know that there will be setbacks along the way. Nonetheless, they must not give up hope and they should continue to be strong and courageous, as HaShem will not let them fail.
As we approach Yom Kippur, we should bear in mind that even fi, Heaven forbid, we are not yet deemed to have been inscribed in the Book of the Righteous, we can still hope to HaShem to grant us atonement on Yom Kippur, the one day of the year when HaShem desires more than ever our sincere repentance.
Let us use these last few days and Shabbos Shuva to repent wholeheartedly, and then we can be guaranteed to be inscribed in the Book of Life with all the Righteous of the Jewish People.
Have a Strong and Courageous Shabbos!