oh dear….even when I get ahead I’m still behind. Busy me, busy Torah. This week we have red cows, dead siblings, weeping rocks, and a lot of fighting.
The Israelites have moved on to Kadesh and now are apparently very close to Israel. So it seems nearly 40 years have passed. Where did the time go? Again, the Israelites are staging another uprising. It seems like this happens pretty much every week. In the last parsha, God had Aaron stake his blossomed staff at the tent of meeting to remind “the rebels” of God’s power. So here they are again, apparently they’ve forgotten once more who is in charge.
This time they are pissed because they have no water. Miriam has died, and the water she provided is gone with her. God tells Moses to speak to a rock in front of the community and order it to yield its water.
But Moses messes up. He assembles the people and says to them:
“Listen, you rebels, shall we get water for you out of this rock?”
Moses whacks the rock twice with his staff and water pours out. But God is angry and tells Moses that he and Aaron will not enter the land of Israel. According to the commentary that I’ve read, God might have been angry because Moses referred to the Israelites as rebels, essentially giving in to his own anger and lowering his stature to that of the commoner. And God had already told the Israelites that their generation would not enter Israel, so now Moses is among the commoners who will not enter Israel. Or perhaps God was angry because Moses whacked the rock rather than talking to it as God had directed.
But I think it might be something else that has angered God. When Moses says that “we” can bring forth water from the rock, he is not clear about who “we” are. It sounds to me like he’s referring to himself and Aaron. And, personally, I’ve never met a man who can get water out of a rock. Or a woman for that matter. So God might have been pissed because rather than using this opportunity to prove yet again to the Israelites that God has their best interests at heart, Moses has taken the credit. This might have been a test by God to prove Moses’ humility, or lack thereof. And Moses proved himself a not so great parent this time.
Thanks heavens God is not so strict with me. Parenting is not an easy job and I only have 2 kids! There’s an awful lot of careful phrasing, re-shaping of difficult situations, and sweet talking that goes into this job. And how many did Moses have? 600,000? Well not that many any more since the snake and the plagues and the opening of the earth and such. But still, a lot more than 2!