Parshas Chukas

This weeks Parsha is Parshas Chukas. In the Parsha we read the incident of the hitting of the rock, in which Moses and Aaron lost their right to enter the Land of Israel. When Miriam died, the miraculous well that accompanied the Jews in the desert for forty years stopped giving them water. The Jews were now left without anything to drink. When they complained, Hashem told Moses to speak to the rock that it should give forth water. Moses ended up hitting the rock twice. Hashem told Moses and to Aaron, ďSince you didnít believe in Me to sanctify me before the Jewish people, therefore you will not have the merit to bring the Jewish people into the land of Israel. (Numbers ) Rav Moshe Feinstien asks, of what significance is it if Moses hit the rock, or spoke to the rock? Rocks donít give forth water regardless of whether they are hit or spoken to? Isnít it an obvious miracle either way? Why does it matter that Moses only speak to the rock?

Another question must be raised; Why does Hashem say that Moses and Aaron didnít believe in Him? Was their sin connected in any way to not believing in Him? Why doesnít it just say that they hit it instead of speaking to it?

Rav Moshe Feinstien explains, certainly water coming from a rock would be a miracle either way. However, there is a most important lesson in speaking to the rock. How often is it that we want to say something to someone, but we donít bother because we feel they wonít listen? The lesson Hashem wanted to show is that a person should always strive to explain Torah to people, and to educate them. If Moses spoke to a rock, and it had an effect on the rock, certainly we must keep on teaching others, even if we donít see the immediate effect of our words.

What is the mitzvah of belief in Hashem? If we already believe in Him, what is the mitzvah? If we donít believe, what does having the mitzvah help? Will someone believe in Hashem just because we tell him that there is a mitzvah to do so?

Even though a person believes in Hashem, the more they develop this feeling into an emotional reality Ė not just to know but to feel that there is Someone Who is watching them all the time, the more they have fulfilled the mitzvah of belief in Hashem. In every sin, explains Rav Dessler, there is some element of denial of Hashem. If I really understood and felt that I was before the King of Kings, and that he sees every action that I do, then I would not sin. This is the beauty of the mitzvah of belief in G-d Ė not just to say I believe in Him, but to make this belief an emotional reality that is felt and that we are aware of in every action that we do. This is a lifelong task Ė to grow and grow in feeling the reality of Hashem watching us.

When Hashem was telling Moses and to Aaron that they had sinned, He was telling them the root of their sin. The lesson to us is when we are faced with situations of challenge, we have to think to ourselves Ė there is Someone watching us!! If that is so, our actions must reflect this reality.