Monday, June 10, 2013

Parashat Chukkat - Do You Really Need That Stick?

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘You and your brother Aaron take the rod and assemble the community, and before their very eyes order the rock to yield its water. Thus you shall produce water for them from the rock and provide drink for the congregation and their beasts."  Numbers 20:7-8

This week we read Parashat Chukkat, which describes the Israelites’ hardship in the wilderness, the announcement that Moses will not enter the Land, and the deaths of Miriam and Aaron. 

We read about the famous story of “striking the rock,” that terrible decree on Moses, who was supposed to speak to the rock when the people cry out for water. Instead, he struck it with his staff, and was told that he will never see the Promised Land.

So, what did Moses do that was so bad that would have warranted such a harsh punishment? It’s pretty clear that Moses was supposed to speak to the rock, not just whack it with a stick. If Moses had spoken to the rock rather than striking it to draw out the water, the Israelites might have witnessed quite a miracle...possibly even more than the 10 plagues or the parting of the Red Sea. It would have shown the great power of God. And, that's what Moses was supposed to show how great God was.

So when you want to draw something out of someone, how do you get their ideas and learn about their hopes, and visions? How do you communicate with them? Are you involved in an open dialogue or do you find yourself raising a stick to strike? 

We all find ourselves in a difficult position, one time or another, of wanting to raise that stick. The key is, knowing when to put that stick down, and taking a step back, and perhaps miracles can actually happen.

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