Parashat Pinchas

In this parashah, God allows Moses to contemplate the Land of Israel from a mountain before dying, since He had forbidden him to enter it for disobeying His orders by striking the stone so that it would give water instead of speaking to it. However, the Sage Rashi explains that initially Moshe did speak to the stone, but when he saw that no water came out, he struck it. On the other hand, the Sage Rambam explains that Moshe’s sin was to call the people ”rebels” when they complained about the water shortage. Rabbi Yitzchak Levi of Berdichov, clarifies that both explanations are correct and related. According to Judaism, everything that God made in this world He put at the service of mankind, especially Am Yisrael, but when they do not fulfill His Will on a spiritual level, creation “resists” to serve Am Yisrael, as it is written: if you do My will I will give you rain in its time, etc. When Moshe called Am Yisrael “rebels” instead of rebuking them in a good way, they lowered their spiritual level, and that caused the stone to “resist” to give water by Moshe’s command, so he had to strike it. From here we learn how careful we must be with those around us, and the importance of knowing how to express ourselves in a good way, even when we must call attention to ourselves.

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