Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Chukat
קטגוריה משנית
To dedicate this lesson
Translated by Hillel Fendel

Total faith in G-d's plan (emuna) means to have trust (bitachon) in G-d, which leads to serenity and joy. If one is angry, or sad, or in despair – this is a signal of flawed faith. He who believes in G-d's plan trusts Him with complete confidence, and knows that he has Someone to lean on: our Father in heaven, Who is good and benevolent, and everything He does is for good. Accordingly, the believer is always happy.

Not everyone understands this, that unhappiness means (at least a temporary) flaw in his faith. But it is true: It is simply inconceivable that one with true faith would be in a state of anger or sadness.

This basic principle is taught us by the Maharal of Prague, regarding the story in this week's Torah portion of the sin of Moshe and Aharon when the Children of Israel thirsted for water. Miriam – in whose merit a spring of water followed Israel wherever they went – had died, and G-d told Moshe and Aharon to "gather the nation and speak to the boulder and it will give forth water." Moshe then said to Israel, "Listen, you rebels… and he hit the boulder twice…"

Some say that the sin here – for which Moshe and Aharon were punished and not allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael – was that Moshe spoke angrily to Israel, and some say that it was that he hit the boulder instead of speaking to it. The Maharal says that both of these are one and the same: Moshe exhibited a lack of faith in G-d.

The Maharal explains that faith means joyful trust in G-d's plan. Belief means trust, and trust leads to joy and serenity that all is well, all is going according to the Divine plan. But with Moshe's temporary lack of faith, came anger and his hitting of the boulder, instead of speaking to it – not only once, but twice.

This is as G-d explained to Moshe (Bamidbar 20,12): "Since you [plural] did not believe in Me, to sanctify Me before Israel – therefore you will not bring this congregation into the Land that I have given them." Moshe and Aharon did not have sufficient belief! The sin was lack of faith, manifest in anger and vexation. If they had trusted G-d, and had spoken to the boulder – Bnei Yisrael would have seen the water miraculously flowing from it, and this would have brought them to complete faith. As the Sages say: "They would have said to themselves that if a lifeless rock does G-d's will without being forced, how much more so should we follow G-d's word and serve Him with joy!"

As a result, Moshe and Aharon did not enter the Land of Israel. The Sages say that if Moshe had entered the Land, he would have built the Holy Temple and it would have never been destroyed. That is to say, Moshe's entry into Eretz Yisrael would have meant full Geula (Redemption), just like the future Geula when the Messiah arrives – and only because of this sin was the entire process delayed for thousands of years.

That is to say: The future Redemption means that Israel will have reached complete faith, complete trust, complete joy. Faith and trust in G-d's plan, and happiness - this is what the future Geula looks like.

The more we develop our faith to the point of totality, and the more we perform our service of G-d in joy and love - not because of inner pressure or an inner coercion for fear of punishment, but only voluntarily, out of love, out of the knowledge that G-d is all goodness – the nearer we come to complete Redemption, which is all emuna, bitachon, and joy.

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