PARASHA CHUKAT

In our parasha we find the Jewish people in the desert desperately clamoring for water. God told Moses to take water from the rock by speaking to it. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses hit the rock and the water came out. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Since you did not have faith in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly to the Land which I have given them.”

In these words, immediately after the water sprang out from the rock and the congregation and their cattle quenched their thirst, God decides to punish Moses and Aaron, telling them the tragic news they will not bring the people of Israel to the Promised Land.  Many questions may rise in our heads as we read these verses. What did Moses do to receive such a severe punishment that his life’s mission to bring his people to the land of Israel was withheld from him?  And what did Aaron do?  Does his quiet presence at the event make him an accomplice to the offense?

In these lines, I would like to focus on the explanation that God gives to Moses and Aaron:  God says to Moses and Aaron: “Because you did not believe in me to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel.”  The explanation is as follows: “You did not believe in me – Lo HeEmantem Bi ” from the word “to do your work faithfully”, in the sense of accurately performing everything that is incumbent on you and doing it for the best.

Moses and Aaron missed an opportunity to promote the glory of God to the people of Israel in the way they spoke and behaved before the rock.  Because Moses and Aaron did not clearly attribute this wonderful act to God, they missed an opportunity to sanctify the name of Hashem.  And this shows how important it is in the eyes of God to dedicate the name of God to the people of Israel.

From this we learn that we must not only see the miracles and wonders in our personal lives or as a nation, as God’s deeds, but also and above all, we must clearly express our knowledge by our words, “God Willing, BeEzrat Hashem or Con la ayuda de Dios.”

There is no doubt, despite all the problems and challenges facing our nation, that the history of the people of Israel in the last one hundred and twenty years, and the transformations that have taken place all over the world to bring the people of Israel back to their land, are miracles and wonders.  People who were scattered and divided in all the countries of the world, a people persecuted and tormented by deadly and cruel tortures that the language cannot describe and the mind cannot understand, and yet returns as a major actor on world history, to become one of the most successful countries in the world!  This is a miracle!

Each and every person has to say the blessings of “Hagomel” when crossing a risky journey or being healed of an illness, in order to recognize and be thankful for God’s providence over us on our dangerous path. In the same way we are as a nation, we recite the Halel on Yom Ha’atzmaut, and recognize the miracles God made for us, and who he is.

He who refrains from acknowledging these miracles and wonders, and does not say the “Halel”, may be accused of the same thing as Moses and Aaron, “because you did not believe me to sanctify me” and therefore, there is a precedent, and we read about it year after year in our Parasha.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Refael Cohen

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