The Stick & the Rock: The Rogatchover Reframes the Story
The Day Normal Family Life Was Disrupted
Class Summary:At last, the great moment had arrived. For forty years, the Jewish People had wandered together through the desert. The older generation had already passed on. Even beloved Miriam was no more. By now, under the leadership of Moses, the young nation of Israel was finally ready to enter the Promised Land. But an incident occurred that would transform the nation's destiny. The people run out of water. They cry to Moses, who turns to G-d. G-d commands Moses to produce water from a rock miraculously, by speaking to it. Instead, Moses hits the rock twice, which indeed produces water. It is the most subtle and enigmatic ‘sin’ in the entire Torah, yet because of it Moses’ greatest dream is shattered and he is denied entry into the Land of Israel. What exactly was Moses’ sin? There are dozens of divergent interpretations. The common denominator behind all of them is that somehow this was a rebellion against G-d or a demonstration of an apparent flaw in Moses. But maybe we have to read the story differently? It was the Rogatchover Gaon, Rabbi Yosef Rosen (1858-1936), who reframes the story completely. Moses’s error consisted of using Aaron’s wooden staff, rather than his own made of rock. As a result, Jewish women did not have a mikvah for a while and peace in the home was effected. The class explores this original insight and shows its parallels in the teachings of Kabablah and Chassidus.