This teaches us that although during his lifetime Moshe designated three refuge cities across the Jordan River, these cities did not actually function as places of refuge until [years later] when Yehoshua designated the other three cities in the Land of Canaan (Rashi).

Moshe zealously took care of the matter, though he knew that the cities would not gain their special status until after his death. Moshe reasoned, “Whatever mitzvah I can possibly fulfill, I will fulfill” (from Rashi to Devarim 4:41).

The Time is Now

Until the last few years of his life, Harav Moshe Feinstein would daven each day at Mesivtha Tiferes Yerushalayim on New York‘s Lower East Side, where he served as Rosh Yeshivah for half a century. When advanced age and ill health made this impossible, a minyan would gather daily in his home. As time went on, it became too strenuous for Rav Moshe to daven the long Shabbos morning prayers with a minyan. Thus, he would daven the Shacharis prayers alone and later a minyan would come to his apartment for the Torah reading and Mussaf.

On Shabbos Parashas Zachor, 5746/1986, an aufruf was being held in Tiferes Yerushalayim. Since those who were regularly part of Rav Moshe‘s minyan would be attending the aufruf and would not be at his home until much later than usual, it was thought best for Rav Moshe to recite Mussaf privately, eat the Shabbos meal and hear the Torah reading later in the day. Rav Reuven Feinstein hurried to his father‘s home that day well before the minyan was to gather. Rav Moshe was unaware of the plans that had been made. Rav Reuven explained to his father that the minyan would be coming much later and only for the Torah reading.

“And why not for Mussaf like every week?” Rav Moshe wanted to know. So Rav Reuven tried to explain why it would be impractical, but Rav Moshe was adamant. He had to daven Mussaf with a minyan just as he did every Shabbos.

It was already past noon and most people had already recited Mussaf, but seeing how distressed his father was, Rav Reuven made the effort to assemble a minyan. He was successful and Rav Moshe davened Mussaf with a minyan as always.

Later, as they sat together eating the Shabbos meal, Rav Moshe turned to his son and said, “Gedenk! Men darf areinchapen viful men ken”,—Remember! One must grab every mitzvah he possibly can!”
Rav Moshe passed away two nights later.