This second blow

The first was unnecessary as well. After the dramatic striking of the rock in front of the whole camp, Moses hears from God he and Aharon will not enter the Promised Land due to their lack of faith. “Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of the Israelite people.”

Rashi explains God’s logic very directly, “For had you spoken to the rock and it had brought forth water I would have been sanctified before the whole congregation, for they would have said: What is the case with this rock which cannot speak and cannot hear and needs no maintenance? It fulfills the bidding of the Omnipresent God! How much more should we do so?”

God does not require Moses and Aharon to mention the Divine Name, which they omitted while standing in front of the camp when Moses said, “Listen, you rebels, shall we get water for you out of this rock?”

God understands the desire of brothers to reaffirm their authority and does not punish them for these words. The punishment comes for the actions, which in this case, not only speak not louder than words but, on the contrary, undermine the Divine authority.

About the Author
Nelly Shulman is a journalist and writer currently based in Berlin. She is an author of four popular historical novels in the Russian language. She is working on the fifth novel in this series and on her first English-language novel, a historical thriller set during the Siege of Leningrad. She a Hawthornden Fellow and an alumna of the Nachum Goldmann Fellowship.
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