[b-hebrew] who called Israel rebellious ?

Vadim Cherny him at vadimcherny.org
Sun Jul 6 13:32:16 EDT 2008

Moses said "we", suggesting to people that the water was brought forth 
by himself and Aaron rather than God.

Vadim Cherny

Yaakov Stein wrote:
> In Numbers chapter 20 God tells Moses to take the staff,
> and with Aaron to gather all the people and speak to the rock.
> Instead he speaks angrily to the people and hits the rock twice.
> God's response is to punish Moses and Aaron with not entering
> the land, and Aaron indeed dies in the next chapter.
> The classical commentaries are divided on whether Moses' sin
> is losing his temper when speaking with the people (the minority view),
> or hitting the rock (the majority view).
> But what is Aaron's sin ?
> If it is Moses who speaks and hits the rock, why is Aaron punished too ?
> Of course he did not speak to the rock as instructed,
> but after his younger brother already hit the rock and brought forth a lot of water,
> Aaron could certainly be forgiven for seeing talk as unnecessary.
> However, we can read the text differently.
> Moses and Aaron gather the people.
> Someone calls the people rebellious.
> Moses picks up his arm and hits the rock twice.
> Why are we convinced that it was Moses who spoke to the people?
> The last name mentioned in the previous sentence is that of Aaron,
> and chiastically we may understand the next sentence to refer to him.
> Notably the following sentence feels it important to specify that
> it is Moses who picks up his arm and hits the rock - if all this is done
> by Moses, then why the need to mention his name here ?
> If this is the correct reading, then Aaron is guilty of losing his temper
> and calling the people names, and Moses is guilty of losing his temper
> and hitting the rock instead of talking with it. Both are guilty of not
> speaking to the rock.
> This still leaves unsolved the question, raised by Maimonides,
> as to why God tells Moses to bring the staff in the first place
> if he is not supposed to use it.
> Yaakov (J) Stein

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list