The need for loving words

‘The entire House of Israel wept over Aaron’(Numbers 20:29)

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June 13, 2013 14:01
4 minute read.
Hukat; Numbers 20:17

Hukat; Numbers 20:17 521. (photo credit: Israel Weiss)

 
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Why was Moses, the greatest prophet who ever lived and who sacrificed a princedom in Egypt to take the Hebrews out of Egypt, denied entry into the Land of Israel? Was it because he struck the rock with his staff rather than having spoken to it? But it was God, after all, who commanded him to “take the staff, gather together the witness-congregation, and speak to the rock” (Numbers 20:8). And previously, shortly after the splitting of the Red (Reed) Sea but before the Revelation at Sinai, God had commanded him to strike the rock with his staff to bring forth water for the nation. Apparently, striking the rock could not have been such a heinous crime.

I believe that the key to our understanding of the incident of the rock lies in a curious contrast between Moses and Aaron hinted at in our text, which highlights the profound tragedy – as well as the exalted majesty – within the unique persona of Moshe rabbenu, Moses our teacher.

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