We read about the story of Moshe hitting the rock in this week\'s sedra and subsequently being punished. Surely, though the punishment of forfeiting his life and merit to enter Eretz Yisroel is a little harsh on Moshe - all he did was change a minor instruction from Hashem. He was instructed to talk to the rock, and merely hit the rock instead ?
Amongst the many answers to this question is an outstanding one from Rabbi Yaacov Kamenetsky zt"l.He explains that there may have been people in the future who would challenge the veracity of the transmission of Torah from Hashem to Moshe, and would suggest that maybe Moshe changed part of the Torah - a bit here or a bit there ! However, this week's sedra teaches us that as soon as Moshe deviated marginally from Hashem's instruction, that was it - curtains for Moshe ! Hashem had to punish Moshe so severely to communicate to us that this was the only time Moshe ever changed Hashem's words - and look at the punishment he received ! In other words Hashem's punishment was designed to protect the future of the truthfulness of Moshe's transmission of Torah to the Jewish people.

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