The Shmuz – Parshas Chukas


 And HASHEM told Moshe and Aharon:” In punishment that you have not trusted Me … and for not having sanctified me in the eyes of Israel, I decree that you will not bring this congregation to Earth that I promised to give to them! “-  Bamidbar 20:12

The be’er disappeared when Miriam died.

For almost forty years, while the Jews traveled through the desert, their source of water was the be’er , it was a long rock that provided water that they needed to survive. The Jewish nation consisted then of about three million people. They also brought many animals with them when they left Mitzrayim, so they required millions of gallons of water per day. The be’er provided everything they needed and even more.

When Miriam died, the rock disappeared, and Klal Yisroel acknowledged that his survival was at risk. HASHEM told Moshe Rabbeinu to go into the desert, to speak to the rock to bring the water back. When Moshe and Aaron approached the rock, they spoke to him and he did not answer them. Moshe then assumed that just as it was necessary to hit the rock when the Jews first entered the desert, he thought that now would also be necessary. Then, when he hit the rock, water began to flow from the rock.

Later, HASHEM tells Moshe and Aaron that they were wrong. HASHEM told them to talk to the rock and that it was because of the power of speech that the miracle would take place. In a way, they lacked confidence in HASHEM, and that caused them not to use good judgment. If they had been more grounded in trust, they would have used only the words, and the rock would have given water.

Rashi tells us that because of this mistake, the Jewish people missed a great lesson. If Moshe had spoken to the rock, the Jews would have discerned: “A rock does not require sustenance; however, he hears the word of HASHEM; with greater reason we, who rely on HASHEM for our sustenance (parnassa) , we must listen to Him . “But when Moshe hits the rock instead of talking to him, we lost the lesson.

Rashi seems to say that if Moshe had spoken to the rock, the Jewish people would have increased, so to speak, their level of service to HASHEM. They would have realized that their subsistence depended on doing mitzvahs, and this would have made them have a better focus and accuracy in doing these mitzvahs.

The second problem with Rashi’s comment is that any system of motivation that is used must be appropriate for the listening audience. The people of that generation received the Torah in Har Sinai. They spent almost forty years surrounded by the Clouds of Glory, completely submerged in the study of the Torah, and fed by the mon . They were in the highest madreigah that any generation could have been in history. So even parnassia depended on listening to HASHEM, how could you motivate them with something as mundane as earning your daily bread?

Obstacles That Prevent Us from Serving HASHEM.

The answer to this question is based on the Rambam’s understanding (in Hilchos Tshuvah, Perek 9). He explains that although we receive no reward in this world for doing mitzvahs, if a person stays on the ways of the Torah, then HASHEM will remove all obstacles that normally prevent the person from keeping the mitzvahs . Illness, wars, poverty and famine prevent a person from learning or fulfilling mitzvahs. If the person is happy and dedicated to stay on the ways of the Torah, HASHEM will fill it with all the requirements to be able to serve it better, such as peace, tranquility, well-being, sustenance and everything a person needs to follow the Torah.

The Rambam tells us that as HASHEM created the world for the Torah, when a person conducts himself properly in the world, HASHEM allows him to satisfy his needs in this world without effort. So that you could better serve HASHEM.

HASHEM told Moshe and Aaron that this lesson would have greatly impacted the desert generation, but they lost it. If people had seen that the rock obeyed HASHEM’s order, they would have climbed to a powerful level of understanding: “Rock has no needs, but listens to HASHEM. The more we, who have so many needs, we must listen to Him … “HASHEM has promised us that if we follow His ways, He will remove all obstacles from our path. But if we do not listen to Him, then … “

This lesson would have impacted even this generation because its very survival depended on it. While there are people who have high motivations, one of our strongest impulses is self-preservation. If that generation had come to a clear recognition that their own existence depended on following the Torah, they would have changed their perception of things-but it was a lost lesson.

It is not easy to earn a living.

The concept that HASHEM meets our needs when we follow an appropriate life can be a great source of motivation. Making a living is not easy. The market economy of the stock market both rises and falls. Many industries as they come, they leave. Careers that were once in great demand in a given decade are now outsourced, outsourced. Economic security in a world like never before changing is very fragile at best.

Although our main motivation to follow the Torah is that HASHEM ordered us to do it for our own benefit in the World to Come, the reality is that we live in this world. We have bills to pay, children to put in school, and many, but many financial obligations. If we always had in mind that HASHEM removes the obstacles of our path, as long as we devote ourselves hard to follow the Torah, it would motivate us to growth. This does not mean that life would be a bed of roses. There would always be nisyonos, tests and different situations that we need for different reasons. However, the basic starting point is to keep in mind that HASHEM will take care of all my needs so that I can serve you better. That understanding can help us focus on our true purpose in this world and allow us a higher level of success in everything we do.

This is an excerpt from the Shmuz in Parsha’s book. .


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