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Blog - Torah Insights

Speak to the Rock

We all heard the story: the Jews needed water in the desert, G-d tells Moses to speak to the rock and it will give its waters, Moses hit the rock instead of speaking to it and was therefore denied the great merit of entering the land of Israel.

As the Torah states:  

"The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take the staff and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and speak to the rock in their presence so that it will give forth its water. You shall bring forth water for them from the rock and give the congregation and their livestock to drink." Moses took the staff from before the Lord as He had commanded him. Moses and Aaron assembled the congregation in front of the rock, and he said to them, "Now listen, you rebels, can we draw water for you from this rock?" Moses raised his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, when an abundance of water gushed forth, and the congregation and their livestock drank."

There are many mysteries in this story; let’s start with the basics: if G-d was so upset with Moses, why did he then perform a miracle causing water to gush forth from a rock despite Moses hitting the rock? And why was G-d so offended by the hitting of the rock instead of speaking to it?

If I believe that something is beyond my reach - that I can't master this wisdom, learn to play this instrument, or overcome this challenge - there are two ways you can help me grow. You can force me to do it. You can just throw me into the pool and I'll have no choice but to figure out how to swim. I will be forced to achieve what I thought was impossible. I will, however, achieve this only because of a force outside of myself. The downside is that since the growth is forced upon me by external circumstances, therefore once the circumstances change I will fall back to my old self.

The more effective option is for you to show me that deep within me lies abundant potential; you show me that to grow I need not look to a force outside me rather I need to look inward. Only when the growth is not forced upon me, will it last.

You want to teach your child, or your student, yet you feel you hit a wall; he or she just does not get it. You began to think "I am wasting my time, there is no one home". You feel like your only option is to “hit the rock”, to force the growth upon then, by applying pressure from the outside, by the force of your charisma, or by the threat of consequence, or an award of a vacation to Europe. You will probably manage to get some water out of the rock. But you missed the point.  

Or you can “speak” to what to you looks like a rock. You think your child cannot listen, understand, and identify with the message; understand that you are misjudging. G-d says: “speak to the rock in their presence so that it will give forth its water”, what appears to you as a rock is a fountain. Speak again and again, dig deeper and deeper, and you’ll discover the water.   

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