Upon Moses’ death, do the people feel like abandoned orphans?
From the Torah’s final chapters, it appears that feelings are mixed.
On the one hand, there is definitely pain and sorrow over the departure of their leader, the father of all Israel.
On the other hand, one gets the sense that the listeners, like many young people at the beginning of their path, hear the words without truly internalizing them.
Perhaps their inner sense tells them that all the reproof and moral instruction are true, but belong to the past.
They find it difficult to relate to Moses’ warnings about pitfalls they are likely to encounter in the future, or about the new life they are about to lead.
The truth is that Moses does not want to discourage or dishearten them.
All that he wants to do is to explain to them that they are now mature and on their own.
He concludes by saying, as many parents tell their children in such a situation, that all he wants is for them to get through life’s pitfalls in the best possible way.
Although there may not always be good results, that is the way of the world.
A new generation has arrived, and after all the memories, instructions, and warnings, it will ultimately make its own way, its own mistakes, and its own improvements as well.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz