(Numbers: 19:1- 22:2)
(Shoftim 11:1-33)

1. [20:8] God told Moshe and Aharon to speak to the rock so that water would come out of it for the people. Because Moshe did not do this, neither he nor Aharon were allowed to go into the Promised Land. According to the Rambam, Moshe’s sin at the rock was that he spoke in a disrespectful way to the Israelites. Why was this act considered so severe that Moshe and Aharon could not enter the land of Israel?

2. According to the Ramban, Moshe’s sin was the fact that he hit the rock instead of speaking to it, as he had been commanded. Why was this act considered so severe that Moshe and Aharon could not enter the land of Israel? Does this seem fair? How can it be understood?

3. Moshe is later buried on Mount Nevo which is outside of the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 34). Shortly after that, however, the borders of Israel are expanded and it ends up that Moshe’s grave is in the land of Israel. What does this fact tell us about God’s justice and God’s appreciation of Moshe?

4. [21:1] When the Israelites were mistreated by the king and people of Arad, they take an oath to God that they will destroy the cities of Arad if God will give them victory. What do we learn about the people from the fact that they had to take an oath that they would be extra aggressive? What seems to be their basic attitude toward war and aggression?

5. [21:4] When the Israelites were attacked by poisonous snakes, God tells Moshe to put a statue of a snake on a high stick. Whoever would look up at the model of the snake would be cured of the poisoning. What psychological-spiritual-ethical lessons can we learn from this?

Commentary

A person should serve God with all his strength, because everything has a holy aspect, and God wants a person to serve him in all ways. Sometimes a person is talking to people, or is on a journey, and cannot serve God with prayer and learning. Nonetheless, God wants people to serve Him in all possible ways, so God sends someone to different places in order to do some service there.

–R. Yisroel ben Eliezer, the Ba’al Shem Tov, 1698-1760, Carpathia.
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker
And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer