The Rock : This week's parsha is Chukat. We read about Moshe's famous mistake…. Hitting the rock. The people complained that they didn't have water, and Hashem told Moshe to speak to the rock, but instead he hit it, and Hashem says that "because you didn't believe in Me" you're not going to be allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael when the time comes for the rest of the nation to enter and settle the land.
There are a couple questions that come to mind when you read about this…. Namely, what's the fact that Moshe hit the rock have to do with a lack of faith in Hashem? Hashem said speak to it and he hit it…. But why would a lack of faith cause him to do that? That's question one. Question two: Why such a strong response? Because of this Moshe wasn't allowed to enter the Land of Israel?! Those are our questions .
To understand really what's going on, of course you need Chazal (our Sages) who give us some extra info about the sequence of events that led to Moshe's hitting the rock.
Picture the scene. Moshe was standing there, ready to speak to the rock that Hashem had commanded him to speak to. When he would do that, he had been assured the rock would miraculously split open and water would flow from the rock to sustain the nation. But the people who were standing there started saying "Moshe knows the secrets of this rock. He knows how it works. That's why he can bring out the water that is inside it. It's not because Hashem sent him and is doing a miracle for us… Moshe himself knows how to do it. If he brought water out of a different rock, that would prove it's Hashem doing it, because Moshe can't know the secrets of every rock… but he went specifically to the rock that he understands. It's nothing to do with Hashem."
This is what a portion of the Jews in the desert said to Moshe. Then he was in a dilly of a pickle. He thought to himself: 'If I hit this rock that Hashem told me to, I will be fulfilling His commandment, but they will think it's from me. Alternatively, if I hit a different rock, I'm not doing exactly what Hashem told me to do, but when the water comes out from there they will know that it's from Hashem, and not me!' Moshe decided that the greater Kiddush Hashem, the best thing to do for Hashem, would be to speak to another rock and bring water out from there, and then the people would know for certain that Hashem was doing this miracle, not Moshe. But, when he did speak to the other rock, because he had already strayed from what Hashem told him to do, the rock did not split open and did not give forth water. And so he hit the rock so it would do so. (Why hitting the rock made a difference is a great question…. For another time.)
But as you and I know, Moshe made a mistake. He should have done the first option. He should have spoken to the original rock. He should have had the faith in Hashem that when Hashem commanded him to do something, nothing bad was going to come of it. Sometimes we have to put aside all of our weighing up and intellectual considerations, and just trust that Hashem knows best. If He said to do something, He must have had a good reason, and whatever accounting you make now, surely Hashem knew of it before and still decided the way he did.
Sounds so simple, but it's very easy to forget. That was Moshe's mistake with the rock. He had the best of intentions… he really was trying to do what was best for Hashem. But Hashem knows what's best for Hashem, and what's best for us, so why not go with His decision?
Shabbat Shalom!

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