By Rabbi Label Lam
HASHEM spoke to Moshe saying, “Take the staff and gather the assembly, you
and Aaron your brother, and speak to the rock before their eyes that it
shall give its waters. You shall bring forth for them water from the rock
and give drink to the assembly and to their animals.” Moshe took the staff
from before HASHEM, as He had commanded him. Moshe and Aaron gathered the
congregation before the rock and he said to them, “Listen now O rebels,
shall we bring forth water for you from this rock?” Then Moshe raised his
arm and struck the rock with his staff twice. Abundant water came forth and
the assembly and their animals drank. HASHEM said to Moshe, “Because you did
not believe in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the Children of Israel,
therefore you will not bring this congregation into the Land that I will
give them.” (Bamidbar 20:7-12)
…The testimonies of HASHEM are reliable they make wise the simple! (Tehillim
Here we have on open display one of many clear demonstrations of the
veracity of the Torah. Moshe’s faultiness is exposed in living color for the
world to see for all time. He is accused by The Almighty of “not believing
in HASHEM”! Even a momentary lapse, in a situation of extreme pressure and
desperation is not excusable. It must be spelled out for all future
generations how he had erred in his career as a servant of G-d! Usually the
writer of history has his turn to revise things, consciously or
sub-consciously, and sanitize the reputation of the heroes it wishes to
promote. What does the Torah consistently do? It points out the subtle and
overt errors of all our ancestors. No one is so sacred to avoid criticism!
Avraham is faulted for allowing water to be fetched by an agent rather than
going to get it himself when he was visited by three heat stricken wayfarers
on the hottest day ever just three days after his circumcision at the age of
99. The strict eye of justice did not spare or excuse him even as his
greatness was on parade. Then Sara chuckled inwardly, and probably
undetectable, by human hearing, and yet she was held accountable for a
slight lack of belief in HASHEM’s ability to grant her a child in her old age.
Yaakov is punished for his response to Rochel when she demanded a child
after her sister had already given birth multiple times. “Am I in place of
G-d!?” he responded bluntly. He was evidently not the one with a fertility
issue but that was not the way to respond to a woman in emotional pain. Ouch!
That a golden calf was built just 40 days after the Nation of Israel all
heard the HASHEM declare, “You shall have no other gods before Me…” and the
Torah records G-d’s wish to destroy the entire nation and rebuild it with
Moshe is brutally truthful and revealing. That Aaron albeit unwillingly
played a direct role in its construction is even more startling because
later he would become the highest of high priests. That ugly fact could
easily have been swept under the historical rug and no one would be the wiser.
We find that even Miriam’s slight-slight of her brother Moshe whom she loved
and which resulted in her public disgrace as she was afflicted with Tzaraas,
could also have avoided headlines, but no! It is one of the six daily
remembrances and one of the 613 Mitzvos to remember what HASHEM did to
Miriam, when she spoke to Aaron and out of for concern for Moshe! Ouch again!
The rebellion of Korach also would have been better to be hushed and whisked
away. Why would Moshe want people to know that in his lifetime there were
dissenting opinions and mutinous machinations at play!? Does that add or
detract from the credibility you would expect Moshe to be seeking?
The answer is that Moshe did not write anything from his own mind. He was
not more than a compatible printer of The Almighty penning with perfect
precision like any other scribe only what he was bidden to and not more or less.
The cases are just too many to list! Even a few examples though serve as
strong evidence that the testimonies of our Holy Torah are dripping with
DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.