Moses Striking the Rock in Horeb by Gustave Dor'e



In this Torah Portion we read about what is probably the best known story in the Old Testament: the splitting of the Red Sea (i.e. the sea of reeds). In order to understand a little bit better what is being discussed here, we must first focus on the metaphor of: water.


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Water” represents: “man made explanations about God”. Thus we are told that the name: “Moses” means: “drawn from the water”. What is necessary to focus on here is the concept of: “dryness” versus the concept of: “wetness”. In the opening lines of the Book of Genesis, we see that water is associated with darkness, which is a universally accepted metaphor for ignorance. When the waters are split, we are told that a dry place is created in between called: heaven. So, first off: we have waters which are above the level called heaven and we have waters which are below the level called heaven. This then suggests that there are explanations about God which do indeed attain a very high level of understanding and there are explanations which are below the level of understanding called heaven.

In addition to this, we are told that the lower waters are all gathered together in one place to create a dry place called land. As we have discussed in previous articles, land is a metaphor for a source of knowledge such as a religious school.


Moses himself must always be associated with dryness. He is pulled from the waters, but he never, ever, touches the waters of the Nile. Furthermore, God floats above the waters in the Book of Genesis, hence God is also to be associated with dryness. If we accept this, then it becomes much easier to understand why the Children of Israel were deprived of water during their march thru Sinai. Also, it will be easier to understand why Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. 


The rabbis have taught for centuries that Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because, instead of speaking to the rock, he struck the rock with his staff when producing water for the Israelites. This is absolute and total nonsense. First of all, in Exodus 17 God clearly tells Moses to strike the stone with his staff, so: how can that possibly be the reason he is not allowed to enter the Promised Land? Second, in Numbers 20, God explicitly states it is because Moses and Aaron did not give honor to his word in front of the Israelites that he will not be allowed to enter into the land. Finally, in Deuteronomy 3, Moses himself states that it is because he gave in to the complaints of the Israelites that God will not allow him to enter the land.


Never is it written anywhere that Moses could not enter the Promised Land because he struck the rock with his staff...never...


When thinking about the punishment of Moses it is important to understand that the name Sinai means: scholarship. Second, the Hebrew word for desert or wilderness is the present tense of the verb: to talk.  Thus the name: "Sinai Desert" represents: "academic dialogues". If you want to believe that there was a literal stone in the desert and that Moses provided water for two million people (and their animals) by hitting this rock with his staff, go right ahead. But please just think about what would happen if two million extremely thirsty people were face to face with a single stream of water. Then think about what happens every day in Tel Aviv when merely five Israelis are face to face with an open bus door. Then think about what happened at Wembly Stadium 20 years ago...

In addition to all this, after providing the people with water Moses screams out at them in Hebrew: “you fallen ones” ( He does not say: “you rebels” as appears in the usual English translations ).

Moses is punished for not insisting that the people believe in the words of God. Instead, he caves in to their demands and  provides them with the words of men. He then used the authority of God, represented by his staff, to make it appear these words came from God. Thus it is no accident that Joseph is thrown into a dry well before he is sent to Egypt to save the people there. In Hebrew the word used for: "well" also means: "a source", hence it is from a source of dryness that Joseph begins his journey.

A mountain is a metaphor for a higher level of understanding, therefore the name: Mount Sinai means: a higher level of understanding based on scholarship. The word "Horeb" in Hebrew means: "dryness", so the name: Mount Horeb means: a higher level of understanding associated with dryness. Thus, it is obvious why Moses screamed out: "you fallen ones" after providing the Israelites with water at Horeb. They had fallen from a higher level of understanding based on God's word, to a lower level of understanding based on the words of men.

This all ties in with the commandment against committing  adultery. Biblical adultery  refers to mixing religious doctrines, thus the Bible speaks about: "whoring after other gods". But, the word adultery also means: "to water down", hence the teachers of the oral law adulterate the word of God. This then is the real reason why Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land and it also explains why all 70 of the original teachers of the oral law died wandering around the desert.


Another famous story dealing with dryness and wetness is, of course, the story of Noah's ark. Water is used to destroy the people, hence this means that too many man made explanations leads to chaos (confusion) and death (total ignorance). Naturally, Noah as well should only be associated with dryness.


Noah sends out birds to search for dry land. A bird is a metaphor for a spiritual intermediary who has a connection between two levels of understanding. In this case: the earth and heaven. Hence the wife of Moses, who is also the daughter of Jethro the priest, is named: “Zipporah” which in Hebrew means: “a female bird”. Furthermore, we should not forget that it is Zipporah who intervenes between God and Moses and saves Moses' life (if you would like to refer back to my last article: http://www.jpost.com/Blogs/Torah-Commentaries/Metaphors-in-the-Torah-The-Donkey-and-the-Ox-388356  you will then see why it is also significant that Moses placed Zipporah on a donkey).


Accordingly, the story of Noah and the dove has nothing to do with: “peace on earth and good will to all men”: The name “Noah” means: “rest”. What the story of the dove means is:


Those who place themselves above the explanations of men (water) and rest on the Sabbath, trusting in God's word and not in the studies of men, will receive from an intermediary of God a message bringing enlightenment (which is represented by the olive leaf, since in those days olive oil was used in lamps to provide light).”

Therefore, the only way to the Promised Land (i.e. a new source of understanding) is by making one's way thru the adulterated explanations of religious teachers (no matter how “deep” they appear to be). One must rely ONLY on the words of God and to have faith in his words alone. 


Again, it should be recalled that God clearly stated that he would make his covenant with Abraham and give him the land of Canaan as an inheritance ONLY because he knew that Abraham would teach God's ways to his descendants (this could not mean the rabbis' ways because there were no rabbis at that time).


Even the most orthodox rabbis agree that their religion is NOT the religion of Abraham.This is because their religion is based on the oral laws given at Sinai which are represented by water.Today, the rabbis insist that the religion of Abraham was: "a pre Sinai” religion and that Abraham is not really a Jew according to: "the ha-lac-hah” (rabbinical law). I have this in writing, by the way, from rabbis in the Chabad movement as well as A.I.S.H. Furthermore, if you read the comments of "religious" readers of these articles you will see that they again and again refer to this concept of a: "pre Sinai" religion.


But hey: if I had a choice between God's laws as taught by Abraham and the oral laws as taught by the rabbis, I would chose God's laws. Since the rabbis repeat over and over again that their religion is not the same religion as Abraham's, then maybe not being a Jew according to “rabbinical ha-lac-hah” is a good thing. It certainly beats walking around dressed like a penguin. Did Abraham dress like a penguin? I don't think so. Gee, I guess Abraham really wasn't a Jew after all...



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