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Torah Talk for Parashat Chukat

July 13, 2016 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In this parasha, Hashem instructs Moshe and Aaron regarding the parah adumah (red heifer); Miriam dies; to bring forth water Moshe hits a rock rather than speaking to it; Aaron dies.

The order of the stories in chapter 20 can teach us a number of lessons about leadership. The first thing that happens is that Miriam dies. Then the Bnei Yisrael complain to Moshe and Aharon because there is no water. Hashem tells Moshe to speak to a rock to draw out water; Moshe hits the rock instead of speaking to it, and, as a result, Hashem tells him that he will not lead the people into the Land of Israel. Moshe then negotiates unsuccessfully with the king of Edom for the Israelites to cross his land to facilitate their journey to Israel. Finally, Aharon dies. Many commentators and scholars wonder why Hashem punished Moshe so harshly for what seems like a small misstep. Read more >