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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Chukat 39-3

The statute of

Numbers 20:7-13

And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

Num. 20:10-12 NKJV

What was Moshe's sin?

Moshe and Aharon couldn't bring the people to the promised land for the sin they committed in this occasion. There are many different rabbinical explanations about what kind of sin was committed. The truth is that the Eternal told Moshe to talk to the rock, but instead of talking to it, he struck it. That's the essence of sin, not doing what the Eternal has said. Besides, Moshe called the people rebels and asked them if they could bring water out themselves. By his words we can deduce that he acted in anger and spoke as if he could make miracles, when he should have honoured the Eternal with that ability. Well, the mistakes of these two spiritual giants were summed up with the words: "you didn't believe me to sanctify me before the sons of Israel".

The sanctification of the Eternal – in Hebrew kidush haShem, קידוש השם – has great priority for the Eternal. The way of treating Him is of great importance, and specially when being an example for the entire people, as Moshe was. We cannot treat the Eternal just any way we want and think there will be no consequences. And the higher the spiritual position one has, the more important is to treat the Eternal correctly so that the people have a good example to follow.

In what way did Moshe and Aharon not sanctify the Eternal? The Torah reads that they didn't believe Him – in Hebrew lo heemantem, לא האמנתם. The root of the verb to believe – aman, אמן – has to do with the building of a support, something firm and stable. Therefore, to believe in the Eternal not only implies to believe in what He says, but to be faithful and adjust all of one's life – thoughts, attitudes and behavior – according to what the Eternal dictates. To believe in HaShem is to trust Him. To believe in the Eternal is to be faithful. Moshe and Aharon weren't faithful in that moment because He said they must talk to the rock but they didn't, they struck it. To be faithful is to do exactly what the Eternal has said, not more, not less.

By not being faithful, they didn't sanctify His name. By not doing what He said they set a terrible example before the people of how one must behave before the Eternal. Some may think that it's not that important if they talked to the rock or hit it, the important is that the miracle was done and that the people were saved. But in the kingdom of heaven things don't work halfway like that.

What the Eternal says is exactly what He means. That's why one should obey Him, not more or less, nor any other way, or similar, or halfway, but exactly as He said. Any other thing is not sanctifying and not being faithful to Him.

Let's learn from this lesson to study well what the Eternal has really said, so we can do exactly what He says and nothing else.



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