[b-hebrew] who called Israel rebellious ?

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Sun Jul 6 22:00:47 EDT 2008


It occurs to me that MRIBAH of Numbers 20:13 is possibly MEY-RIB-AH,  
the source of plentiful water, MAYIM RABIM. I am not sure if this is  
the same B(ER mentioned later on in verse 16.
I think this is also the meaning of MEYDB)A of Numbers 21:30, which  
is either MEY-DBA(, from the roots DBB, DUB = ZUB = TUB, or even MEY- 
RBA(. Also possibly, MGIDO = MEY-GIDO, 'the gushing water', of judges  
5:19.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jul 6, 2008, at 1:05 AM, 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
>
>
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