Having had a few vacation days stored up (I think that happened because of yamim tovim falling on weekends), I decided to just take off all of chol hamoed this year, which I have not done in a long time. It was fanatstic to just spend a week enjoying Yom Tov - hope you all had an enjoyable chag as well. The chol hamoed trip itinerary included standard classics like the Bronx Zoo and AdventureLand (those who send kids to TAG and live in the Far Rockaway-5T area are I am sure familiar with this one) as well as some others.
Before starting Braishis, I can't resist writing over one of my favorite vortlach of the Chasam Sofer that appears at the end of Zos haBracha. The parsha tells us that Bnei Yisrael cried for Moshe's death for 30 days, "vayitmu y'mei b'chei eivel Moshe", the days of Moshe's mourning ended. "V'yehoshua bin Nun malei ruch chochma ki samach Moshe yadav alav...", Yehoshua was filled with wisdom because Moshe had placed his hands upon him. The clause telling us that the crying for Moshe's death ceased seems unnecessary, as it is implicit in the initial statement that Bnei Yisrael cried for 30 days. Also, the description of Yehoshua's possessing wisdom because of his relationship to Moshe seems to have nothing to do with the description of the mourning which preceded it and might have been written at an earlier point in the narrative.
Chasam Sofer explains that both pesukim together describe the mourning for Moshe Rabeinu, as there were two aspects to the aveilus. The immediate response to Moshe's death was crying for the loss. After 30 days, "vaYitmu ymei b'chei eivel Moshe", this period of crying for Moshe's death drew to a close, but that was not the end of the mourning. When the great wisdom Yehoshua attained as a result of having drawn close to Moshe Rabeinu, "ki samach yadav alav", became apparent, people realized that they too had had the same opportunity to draw close to Moshe Rabeinu - they too could have been the one to stay close to their Rebbe's tent and learn more Torah from him, or to be mishamesh him; they too could have become like Yehoshua and been filled with chochma gleaned from their rebbe Moshe had they only seized the opportunity. Now with Moshe gone, they cried not just for the loss of Moshe the Navi and leader, but they also mourned their own failure to seize the opportunity to grow in learning and wisdom while Moshe Rabeinu had been accessible.