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I'm trying to imagine the subtext. I'm trying to imagine what Moshe was thinking on the inside. First, Gd arranges another setup for Moses to fail. After all, Gd didn't say NOT to strike the rock. So he got a little enthusiastic. Plus Gd takes Miriam and Aaron. (Was Aaron's death, preventing him from entering the promised land, intended as payback for the golden calf, and the lashon hara incident with Miriam for which only she was punished at the time?)
All these thoughts and more in Moses' head. Yet what does he do? He again shows his character, and continues to do all the Gd commands, and continues to lead the people--all the while now knowing he would never get to see the promised land himself. Did he do it for spite? Did Moses what to show Gd that, despite Moses' failings, he was indeed faithful, and would continue to be up until the very end? Or shall we eliminate all this modern pop psychology from the equation and simply accept that Moses was a man of greater character than perhaps one can expect any man could be? Maybe Moses really could shut down all those inner voices, or control himself enough to at least ignore them.
Character? Passive-aggressiveness? Did Moses just bury everything, and it just never came bubbling up to the surface (or perhaps Moses' striking the rock was evidence of inner turmoil bubbling up. Somehow, I'm more inclined to subscribe to the man of strong character this time. Yeah, I know. That kind of surprises me, too. I've been giving Gd a pretty hard time these past few weeks, as these parashiyot do indeed show some of Gd's worst moments. Maybe that has led me to be more forgiving to Moses, man of great character.
Never again has a man arose like Moses. Nor is it likely to ever happen again. Should we aspire to it ourselves? Perhaps. It may be more than we can handle, and lead us into the paths of passive-aggressiveness. Such strong faith and humility. Can any human really bear such a burden of faith? The Christians would have us believe that their savior did. Yet their savior bore the mantle in death. Moses bore it all throughout his 120 years of life. I know which I believe is harder, and that's why Judaism remains my faith. The man of great character, Moses, is role model enough. Maybe even Gd could learn a few lessons from Moses. (Or maybe Gd already has?)
©2004 by Adrian A. Durlester
Some previous musings on this parasha
Chukat Balak 5763-Mi ChaMicah
Chukat 5762-The Spirit of Miriam
Balak 5761-Beating Our Donkeys
Chukat-Balak 5760-Holy Cow!
Chukat 5759/61-Wanting to See More Than The View From The Mountaintop
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