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The Crown of Halacha

Devarim 5777 – Don’t Strike Out

This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series Devarim 5777

Don’t Strike Out

“Hashem was angry with me because of you, and He said, “You will also not go there (to Eretz Yisrael).” (1:37)

A Good Leader is a Blessing on Our Nation

Before Moshe hands over leadership to Yehoshua, he makes a spiritual accounting with the nation. While he reflects on the grave transgression of the spies, he interrupts the account, saying that it was through this incident that he lost the merit to enter Eretz Yisrael. However, according to the simple understanding of events, it was Moshe himself who caused the loss of merit by hitting the rock instead of talking to it (Bamidbar 20:10-11). So which was it?

A Hidden Mercy from Hashem

The Or Hachaim explains that the punishment of the spies was extended to bar Moshe from entering Eretz Yisrael as well, even though he was not part of their lashon hara against Eretz Yisrael. In reality barring Moshe was actually a decree of mercy. Had he entered the land, he would have built the BaisHamikdash and Hashem would never have destroyed it. Consequently, any future punishment that the Jews suffered would be taken out directly on them.

An Act of Emunah Affects Those Around Us

However, all this could’ve been prevented if Moshe would have spoken to the rock. Speaking would have brought about such a kiddush Hashem that the Jews would have been lifted to an exalted state of purity.  It follows that the spies would have brought back a good report!

A High Price to Pay

Striking the rock weakened the emunah of the Jews and later cost them the benefit of Moshe’s leadership. This is what it means when it says, “They provoked anger at the waters of contention, and it went ill with Moshe because of them.” (Tehillim 107:32)

Never Give Up!

We too have a choice in life, we can “hit the rock” in the form of complaining, causing those around us to spiral down until faith in God is shaken. Or we can “talk to the rock” by demonstrating our core belief in Divine Intervention and strengthening us all.



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