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  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Sefer Bamidbar

Moshe strikes the rock


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Tammuz 1, 5779
In the weekly Parsha, we read about Moshe striking the rock, but Hashem said to use voice to talk to mountain yes? why did Moshe ask Aaron to give him the stick to strike the rock? why did he do like that? what does it mean? and was he punished for that or no? please help me to understand it correctly! thank you
ב"ה Shalom You basically touched upon what the commentators on the Torah deal with. Rashi (Bamidbar 20:12) says that the sin of Moshe and Aharon was that they hadn't spoken to the stone but stroke it instead, and had t hey spoken to the stone G-D's name would have been sanctified. To which the Ramban (Nachmanides ) comments, why was Moshe told to bring the staff if not to use it? Some commentators, (Rashbam and Chizkuni) say the purpose of bringing the staff was unrelated to drawing the water. It was a symbol to deter the rebellious who challenged the appointment of Aharon as we read in last week's Torah portion. The Re'em (Rav Eliyau Mizrachi) one of Rashi's commentators repels the question of the Ramban by saying that although the staff itself was not meant to be used to draw water from the stone, its presence in the hand of Moshe was needed in order to bring about the miracles carried out by Moshe. Rabbenu Nissim in his Dershot on the Torah (Drush 8) explains similarly explains the purpose of the staff. All the best
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