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July 11, 2016 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Chukat

In this week’s Torah portion, Moses gets in big trouble.  God tells him to speak to a rock to get water, and he yells at it.  God tells him he isn’t going into the Promised Land.*

Arama reasons as follows: people were complaining against Moses and Aaron, and God wanted the Jews to realize that water came from God and that God would save them.

Because this was not the first time a miracle was necessary to establish that God would give the Jews water (see Exodus 17) God wanted a new demonstration that went beyond the first.  In the Exodus miracle, Moses strikes a rock to provide water.  This time, it “was necessary to show that Moses did not even touch the rock at all, to implant the conviction in the people’s mind that God alone had provided the water.”  Thus, God wanted to show that even inert rocks respond to God’s word, and that Moses was a true prophet.  Had Moses in fact addressed the rock and gotten water as a result, people would have been very impressed.  Instead, Moses and Aaron hit the rock, thus nullifying the point of the demonstration and making people “even more prepared to credit the production of water to Moses rather than to God.” Moses just seemed like a “water diviner” who achieves success after a number of attempts.

Thus, Moses and Aaron could have proved God’s power and instead proved nothing.


*I’m oversimplifying a bit, since some commentators suggest that there are other reasons Moses does not enter the land. But Arama thinks its because he spoke to the rock instead of hitting it, so let’s just assume that for the purposes of this post.


One Comment

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  1. Shira Salamone / Jul 12 2016 4:02 pm

    In defense of Moshe and Aharon, they’d just lost their sister, and no one seems to have cared.

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