Kids say and do the darndest things. My kids love playing “Radio Dad” which involves them calling in requests to their favorite radio DJ, aka me, to play on Spotify. Currently, the number one request is Swedish rock group Europe’s 1986 smash hit, “The Final Countdown.” With an incredibly catchy synthesizer intro and those stereotypical 80’s hairband vocals, its no wonder they love this song. After several dozen times, however, I think its time to move on to some different. Around time 38 or 39, I started thinking about the lyrics and how closely they mirror what we read on Simchat Torah.

We’re leaving together,
But still, it’s farewell
And maybe we’ll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground (leaving ground)
Will things ever be the same again? It’s the final countdown

In the final passages of the Torah, Moses offers a blessing to the Israelites. In this final drash, similar to the blessings given from bimah for special birthdays and anniversaries, Moses recounts how they got to this point and then offers nuggets of wisdom to various tribes. This speech also makes clear that Moses won’t be leaving that spot, but will continue on with them in spirit. After his blessings, Moses makes his way to the top of Mount Nebo where God shows him the entirety of the land. God makes sure that Moses knows he kept his promise that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will make it to Israel. It’s at this point Moses passes on and the Torah states an interesting line. “Never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses.” Moses, the prophet and teacher, then passed the torch on to Joshua and the Israelites.

So where does The Final Countdown play into all of this, other than it’s the final reading in the Torah? I really do believe the lyrics retell this parsha. Moses, with his long locks, been singing a rock ballad. He lets his people know, “We’re leaving together, But still it’s farewell. And maybe we’ll come back, to earth, who can tell?” He wanted them to know that the covenant is on them now. He was passing on, but would remain with them through Torah. “I guess there is no one to blame. We’re leaving ground. Will things ever be the same again? It’s the final countdown.” Moses has acknowledged he fulfilled his mission, and he won’t be crossing into Israel. And, there won’t be a leader like him ever again.

Music, lyrics, biblical text all set aside, there is one thing I really take away from this parsha. We spend the entire year learning from the Torah and comparing it to the world around us. We have good days and bad ones too. We are all just human. Its important to be your best self, because only as your best self can you really walk in the footsteps of Moses.