First posted on The Times of Israel at: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/vaetchanan-seeing-is-doing/
Netziv Deuteronomy: Vaetchanan
Seeing is Doing
“To perceive means to immobilize… we seize, in the act of perception, something which outruns perception itself.” -Henri Bergson
The Observer Effect is a physical phenomenon that posits that the act of observation affects in some fashion whatever is being observed. This has been confused with the related Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which makes different but related claims.
At the end of his life, Moses begs God to allow him to enter the Promised Land and retract the punishment prohibiting him from entering Canaan. God remains adamant, but as some type of consolation grants Moses the privilege of seeing the land of Israel.
The Netziv on 3:27 claims that God granted Moses the ability to “sense” the land with more than just his eyes. That somehow his vision enhanced his other senses and that Moses perceived the land in some fashion as if he were walking on it. Furthermore, Moses’ viewing of the land was so powerful and had such an effect, that it actually ensured that Joshua’s conquest of the land would be successful.
May all those who come to view the land of Israel and walk on it, may all those who come to support its soldiers, merit to see the success, security and safety of all our people.
To the bereaved families of the fallen soldiers. To the mothers, fathers, wives, fiancées, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. We are with you in your mourning.