Sharing Torah Insights

Chukas- Where Credit is Due

Posted on ו׳ בתמוז ה׳תש״ע (June 18, 2010) | in Chukat | by

I bring you (from Tanach.org) a lengthy analysis of the sin of Moshe Rabbeinu’s striking a rock to retrieve water from it. Though he is sucessful, he is subsequently punished for a miscue not clearly defined in the Torah itself. This infamous sin loses Moshe a chance to enter the land of Israel. Many commentators grapple with what Moshe actually did wrong. The following is a clear overview of the sources I merely found online.

Here are the verses:

8“Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.” 9So Moses took the rod from before the LORD, just as He had commanded him; 10and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” 11Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. 12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” 13Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the LORD, and He proved Himself holy among them.

http://www.tanach.org/bamidbar/chukat/shiur1a.htm

http://www.tanach.org/bamidbar/chukat/shiur1b.htm (Part two.)

Questions to keep in mind when analyzing the sin at Meriva. a) why didnt he try to talk to the rock? c) what did Aharon do wrong that he could not enter the land either?! d) it worked! why did God let it work if Moshe messed up? (Ramban on Rashi) e) If the sin was hitting the rock instead of speaking to it (because speaking would have shown a miracle (Rashi); is hitting a rock and having water emerge less of a miracle?! (Ramban, ” ” “) f) why did Hashem ask him to take the staff if he was not supposed to use it? (Ramban ” ” ” ) g) According to Rambam, Moshe’s never gotten angry before with the nation?! [See, for example, last week’s parsha when he says “How can I carry these people? Other places also. –OK, maybe this time he directed it more to the people…) Anyway, the Ramban does not like Rambam because God responds to Moshe, You did not believe in me! Rambam’s explaination does not jive with this.

The Mizrachi and Gur Aryeh (commentators of Rashi) have answers for Rashi, I have not looked at them yet.

In addition, Rav Yeruchem Levevoitz adds to the Ramban’s own explanation of the sin- which is that Moshe did not make it clear that God was the source of the water. Verse 10 has Moshe srhtorically asking Shall we bring…. As if they themselves could perform miracles. This is what angered God.

Rav Yeruchem notes that Moshe’s actions are in line with the corollary of a gemara. The gemara states That whoever mentions someting in the name io the one who said it originally brings redemption to he world. However, says Rav yeruchem, if one fails to mention where he or she gets the information from, perhaps they unfortunately slow down the redemption process. Since Moshe did not mention God’s name here, he was punished with not being a bigger part of the redemption, (which would have been) leading Bnei Yisrael into Israel.

I always say that, lately at least, 90% of these divrei Torah are from Rabbi Shalom Rosner of Israel. He, in turn, always quotes from the earlier commentator’s.

This dvar Torah was from Rav Rosner as well.

Good Shabbos from home.

Yaakov

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