Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Parenting by Parasha 101

I heard a wonderful Dvar Torah over Shabbat that originated from the "Tzohar" weekly pamphlet. Unfortunately, the pamphlet isn't available on-line yet, nor do I have a copy of it, but I hope to find it and post it online soon and will quote accordingly)

In the meantime, the jist of it was as follows:

Twice the Jewish people complained about their lack of water in the desert, and G-d provided a "water from rock" solution.

The first time was soon after leaving Egypt -- the children of Israel has no water, they complained, and G-d told Moshe to hit the rock and water would come forth.

שמות פרק יז

א ויסעו כל-עדת בני-ישראל ממדבר-סין, למסעיהם--על-פי יהוה; ויחנו, ברפידים, ואין מים, לשתת העם. ב וירב העם, עם-משה, ויאמרו, תנו-לנו מים ונשתה; ויאמר להם, משה, מה-תריבון עמדי, מה-תנסון את-יהוה. ג ויצמא שם העם למים, וילן העם על-משה; ויאמר, למה זה העליתנו ממצרים, להמית אתי ואת-בני ואת-מקני, בצמא. ד ויצעק משה אל-יהוה לאמר, מה אעשה לעם הזה; עוד מעט, וסקלני. ה ויאמר יהוה אל-משה, עבר לפני העם, וקח אתך, מזקני ישראל; ומטך, אשר הכית בו את-היאר--קח בידך, והלכת. ו הנני עמד לפניך שם על-הצור, בחרב, והכית בצור ויצאו ממנו מים, ושתה העם; ויעש כן משה, לעיני זקני ישראל

Shmot 17: 1 And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, by their stages, according to the commandment of the LORD, and encamped in Rephidim; and there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Wherefore the people strove with Moses, and said: 'Give us water that we may drink.' And Moses said unto them: 'Why strive ye with me? wherefore do ye try the LORD?' 3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said: 'Wherefore hast thou brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?' 4 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying: 'What shall I do unto this people? they are almost ready to stone me.' 5 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Pass on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thy hand, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.' And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
The second time was this past week's parasha. What many people don't realize is that this isn't the same "children of Israel" as those who left Egypt. This story takes place 38 years later. Its a completely new generation...and G-d doesn't want Moshe to hit the rock, but to speak to it.
במדבר פרק כ

א ויבאו בני-ישראל כל-העדה מדבר-צן, בחדש הראשון, וישב העם, בקדש; ותמת שם מרים, ותקבר שם. ב ולא-היה מים, לעדה; ויקהלו, על-משה ועל-אהרן. ג וירב העם, עם-משה; ויאמרו לאמר, ולו גוענו בגוע אחינו לפני ה' . ד ולמה הבאתם את-קהל ה' , אל-המדבר הזה, למות שם, אנחנו ובעירנו. ה ולמה העליתנו, ממצרים, להביא אתנו, אל-המקום הרע הזה: לא מקום זרע, ותאנה וגפן ורמון, ומים אין, לשתות. ו ויבא משה ואהרן מפני הקהל, אל-פתח אהל מועד, ויפלו, על-פניהם; וירא כבוד-ה' אליהם. {פ
ז וידבר ה' , אל-משה לאמר. ח קח את-המטה, והקהל את-העדה אתה ואהרן אחיך, ודברתם אל-הסלע לעיניהם, ונתן מימיו; והוצאת להם מים מן-הסלע, והשקית את-העדה ואת-בעירם. ט ויקח משה את-המטה, מלפני ה' כאשר, צוהו. י ויקהלו משה ואהרן, את-הקהל--אל-פני הסלע; ויאמר להם, שמעו-נא המרים--המן-הסלע הזה, נוציא לכם מים.יא וירם משה את-ידו, ויך את-הסלע במטהו--פעמים; ויצאו מים רבים, ותשת העדה ובעירם. יב ויאמר ה' , אל-משה ואל-אהרן, יען לא-האמנתם בי, להקדישני לעיני בני ישראל--לכן, לא תביאו את-הקהל הזה, אל-הארץ, אשר-נתתי להם

1 And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. 2 And there was no water for the congregation; and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 And the people strove with Moses, and spoke, saying: 'Would that we had perished when our brethren perished before the LORD! 4 And why have ye brought the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, to die there, we and our cattle? 5 And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.' 6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tent of meeting, and fell upon their faces; and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.
7 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 8 'Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes, that it give forth its water; and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock; so thou shalt give the congregation and their cattle drink.' 9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said unto them: 'Hear now, ye rebels; are we to bring you forth water out of this rock?' 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and smote the rock with his rod twice; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their cattle. 12 And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron: 'Because ye believed not in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.'
Unfortunately, Moshe didn't fully understand the differences between the previous generation and the current one, and assumed that hitting the rock would be sufficient.

Different ages and different generations need different methods of teaching, education, parenting. You dont speak to a 5 year old that way you do to a 15 year old. You may hit the hand of a 5 year old to keep him from touching an electrical outlet, but a 15 year old needs a conversation.

Moshe's "punishment" of not leading the Jews into Eretz Yisrael, for not speaking to the rock wasn't so much as a "punishment" but a recognition that Moshe could no longer be the leader for the new generation. He was out of touch, and the newer generation needed a leader to speak to the rock, a leader that could connect to the generation and lead them.

For me, I found this message extremely poignant.

Footnote: The כלי יקר writes something similar to this as well.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


mevaseretzion said...

RSRH also says something along these lines.

I like.

DTC said...

and so did RYBS

NTM said...

Also Menachem Leibtag.

Erachet said...

That Calvin and Hobbes picture is so sad!

Anonymous said...

G-d tells Moses that he disobeyed by hitting the rock (twice) when he was told to speak to the rock. He did not treat G-d as holy. G-d requires His leaders to revere Him.

You are reading things into the text that are not there.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

anonymous: He was told once to hit the rock, and once to speak to it.

(Its all in the text above).

Erachet: Yeah, I know. Calvin's not allowed to ever grow up. A Teenager Calvin is much too scary.

Nadav said...

G-d was upset with Moses because He(G-d) had set him(Moses) "as a G-d" to the people and Moses' frustration and anger which caused him to strike the rock was not a "Holy" depiction of G-d. G-d's more accurate depiction of himself was later to be fulfilled in his Moshiach. "I will raise up a profit like unto me"

Anonymous said...

It is time that we as Jews should stop believing everything that every rabbi writes. It is written in the Tanach: "Cursed is the man who puts his trust in man" even in ourselves!- It is also written: Prov 14:12 "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." How many of us have true faith? We need to ask G-d to open our hearts to him and trust in him- We need G-d! He is the only way we can make it, not just our righteousness:Isa (64:5) "And we are all become as one that is unclean, and all our righteousnesses are as a polluted garment"

Anonymous said...

Actually, the idea of talking to the rock was to get the new immigrants used to talking to their Kenesset representatives.

Walid (Jameel's father-in-law)

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