The Parsha Discussion: Chukat — An Anger Problem

Posted by Alex Israel on June 21, 2018
Topics: The Parsha Discussion, Bamidbar (Numbers), Chukat

One of the most enigmatic episodes of the entire Torah is in Parshat Chukat, Moses hits the rock, and is restricted by God from entering the Promised Land. The problem debated by all the classical commentaries, is what Moses did wrong. Moses seems to follow God’s instructions. Why is he punished?

…The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “You and your brother Aaron take the rod and assemble the community, and before their very eyes order the rock to yield its water. Thus you shall produce water for them from the rock …

Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as He had commanded him.

Moses and Aaron assembled the congregation in front of the rock;

He said to them, “Listen, you rebels, shall we get water for you out of this rock?”

Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod.

Out came copious water…

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to affirm my sanctity in the sight of the Israelite people, therefore you shall not lead this congregation into the land that I have given them.” (20:7-12)

  • When you read the text, can you identify how Moses sinned?

Click here to read more from Rabbi Alex Israel in this week’s Parsha Discussion on Chukat: An Anger Problem. .

Please note that if you are printing The Parsha Discussion on US paper, please select the option “fit to print”.

About Alex Israel

Alex teaches Bible at Pardes and is the Director of the Community Education Program and the Summer Program. Alex was born and raised in London. He holds degrees from London School of Economics, the Institute of Education London and Bar-Ilan University. Alex studied at Yeshivat Har Etzion under Rav Aharon Lichtenstein and Rav Yehudah Amital, and gained Rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Rabbinate. Click here to read more.

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