Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Parshas Vaeschanan 5769

An interesting question is raised on this Parsha- if Moshe is not allowed to enter the land because of his sin at Mei hamerivah, why does he blame it on the people there? Yes, he lost his temper and hit the rock despite G-d telling him to speak to the rock because of the nation, but it seems petty to blame his loss of temper and subsequent action on Bnei Yisrael.

To understand this we need to go back to the time of the giving of the Torah- Moshe goes up Har Sinai to receive the Torah from G-d at the request fo the nation who felt they would not survive if it was given directly to them.  However, while he is up there the people go to aharn and demand he makes a physical symbol through which G-d can communicate with them, since they believe that Moshe will not be coming back. Intially, they did not request an idol or something to worship though when it was produced the Eruv Rav enticed the rest into worshiupping, but rather just a source through which Moshe could communicate with them. In essence, they were beginning to see Moshe as divine and in representing G-d himself, rather than just as the conduit which G-d spoke to them through.

This G-d did not want Moshe to lead the peopel into Israel, lest they now saw the miracles that accompanied the conquest of the land as coming from Moshe rather than G-d. As G-d said at Nei haMerivah- Moshe, you are being punished for failing to sanctify my name- by hitting the stone he had opened the question up as to whether it wa shis aciton or G-d’s that caused the water to flow. Combined with the previous sin of the Golden Calf where it was demonstrated that Bnei Yisrael were prone to see Moshe as being directly representative of G-d or of having special powers, G-d could not lead the jews into Israel, intot he midst of a country in which idolatry and the personification of deities as people was common. Moshe had to stay out of Israel in order that the people were not led into idolatry through worshipping Moshe or ascribing G-d’s actions to him.

 

note:  My apologies for the lack of posting.  Hopefully life is back to normal and I can get back onto the normal weekly posting.  As always, comments, suggestions and discussion are welcomed.

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July 30, 2009 - Posted by | Parshah, Torah | , , , , , , , ,

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