These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on July 4, 2011 by Barer

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[Re-posted from here…a few days late, I know]

In this week’s parsha, one of the most famous of all of the happenings of the Israelites’ forty years in the desert occurs when Moshe hits the rock to produce water.  In the absence of his sister Miriam, who has just died, the source of water – which is midrashically attributed to the Well of Miriam, a well that provided the nation with water on account of Miriam’s righteousness – has disappeared, and therefore Hashem offers an alternative.  However, a detail of the story that I do not remember hearing is that Hashem actually tells both Moshe and his (grieving) brother Aharon to speak to the rock, which neither are recorded as doing, as instead Moshe hits the rock (twice) to produce water.  The presence or lackthereof of Aharon is noteworthy in so many of the stories told of the forty years in the desert, but maybe none so much as this one, as this sin is explicitly cited as the sole reason why neither Moshe nor Aharon will merit to lead the nation into Cana’an.  If Aharon is held equally accountable, even though it was Moshe who struck the rock, it stands to reason that Aharon was expected, in some sense, to stop Moshe from striking the rock.

My brother strays

From talking to striking rock

Not a word from me