Moses' frustration and fatigue were no excuse for his refusal to accept the people's cry for help.
Parashat Hukkat brings one of the most famous of biblical stories: Moses strikes the rock and is thereafter barred from entering the land of Canaan. The outline of the story is spare. Toward the end of the Israelites' 40-year journey through the wilderness, the people begin to whine and grumble (once again) about their thirst. In response, Moses and his brother Aaron consult with God, who tells them to speak to a stone and it will bring forth water. Moses, instead, berates the people--"Listen up, you rebels!"--and strikes the rock.
Water comes forth and the people drink, but God punishes Moses and Aaron, saying, "Because you did not trust in Me enough to make Me holy before the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them." Everlastingly holy as God may be, Moses and Aaron fail to demonstrate God's holiness to the people and for this they are chastised and severely punished.
For more than 2000 years, rabbinic commentators have struggled to understand the nature of Moses' sin--and, thus, to understand what Moses failed to do in order to make God holy before the Israelites. The commentators have diverged significantly. Rashi, for example, says that Moses' sin is that he struck the stone, whereas Maimonides says it is that he lost his temper. Nahmanides, with a third interpretation, teaches that Moses' sin was in claiming too much power for himself.
The 12th century biblical commentator Ibn Ezra offers a unique and compelling reading of the text. He argues that Moses' grave error was in calling the people "rebels" when their behavior was not, in fact, rebellious. We learn later in the Book of Numbers that in God's view it was not the people who were rebels in this story but Moses and Aaron themselves. God tells them, "You rebelled against My instruction [and failed] to make Me holy in eyes [of the Israelites]."
Moses' failure to make God holy before the Israelites resided in his misidentification as "rebellious" the people's legitimate behavior. Their complaints about the lack of water needed to be honored with regard and compassion rather than the ire and frustration Moses meted out.
Though Moses had borne 40 years of frequent complaints from these same people, their demand for water needed to be considered anew and respected in full. His frustration and fatigue were no excuse for his refusal to accept the people's request. This refusal, in turn, represented a failure to make God holy in their eyes.
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Jordana Schuster is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She is a graduate of Williams College and has studied at the Conservative Yeshiva and at Harvard Divinity School, from which she holds a Master of Theological Studies.
May Their Memories Be For a Blessing
6/13/2013 (5 Tammuz)
6/14/2013 (6 Tammuz)
6/18/2013 (10 Tammuz)
6/19/2013 (11 Tammuz)
6/21/2013 (13 Tammuz)
6/22/2013 (14 Tammuz)
6/23/2013 (15 Tammuz)
6/25/2013 (17 Tammuz)
6/27/2013 (19 Tammuz)
6/29/2013 (21 Tammuz)
6/30/2013 (22 Tammuz)
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Please click here if you wish to permanently memorialize a loved one by purchasing a yahrtzeit plaque.
Caring Community Information
Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery
Please email Michael Golob or call the synagogue: 248-432-2729 if you wish to add a name to our communal list. Our caring community reaches out to one another in a variety of ways. We welcome our new members warmly with a special visit and gift. We provide shiva minyan leaders. We call/visit/provide meals for members who are ill or home-bound, bring a home-cooked shiva meal to mourners in our community, and help to drive members who need a ride to synagogue services and events. If you would like to help in any way, please call or
Shabbat Services: Chukkat
Friday, June 14th
6 p.m. Services, Chapel
Saturday, June 15th: CHAPEL
There is shuttle parking from Prince of Peace.
Kiddush is sponsored by the Kiddush Lunch Fund.
Kiddush Lunch is available through the generosity of weekly sponsors. Please e-mail or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch. You may also make a donation to the synagogue specifically for the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.
NEXT SHABBAT we will celebrate the B'nai Mitzvah of Ilan and Yael Elrom, children of Itzik Elrom and Paula Levy, siblings of Rachel, Joey and Dayna and Melissa, grandchildren of Elane and Frank (z"l) Basch and Aliza and Moshe (z"l) Buncel.
To the Temple Kol Ami family on the sudden passing this past Shabbat of David Henig.
Monday, June 17th
PLEASE REGISTER ONLINE:
Sponsor Code: tka13
FINAL KADIMA EVENT
OF THE YEAR
THIS SUNDAY, JUNE 16TH
1-3 P.M., Paradise Park in Novi.
B'nai Israel Sisterhood in formation.
Questions? E-mail or call Betsy Wolf: 248-207-0408.
Yizkor Book 5774/2013-2014
To place names in the book for the coming year,
Fridays at 6 p.m.,
Bloomer Park, West Bloomfield
July 5th, August 2nd
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
Supervised Youth Activities, Room 3, lower level
Parent volunteers staff the youth room during the summer months.
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
FINAL KADIMA EVENT:
PARADISE PARK, THIS SUNDAY, 1-3
VOICES NEEDED, Youth ages 10+
to accompany our hazzan during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.
with Dr. Mitch Parker
June 15, 10 a.m. Final Class until the fall
Learn to Read Hebrew with Michael Wolf
Monday evenings, 7-8:30, July 8th-August 19th
BI/TKA Library Materials Fee: $36.00
Class size is limited. This class is for adults with limited or no Hebrew reading knowledge. Click here for registration form.
Non-members of B'nai Israel are welcome to attend.
Women in Tanach: A Four Part Lecture Series
offered through Partners in Torah
Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.
June 19 and 26, July 10 and 17
at the home of Susan Feber
5041 Greensward Court
West Bloomfield, MI 483232
Upcoming Community Events
and TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
Road Rally with TKA and BI
Sunday, July 28th, 5:30 p.m.
All stitchers are welcome.
needlepoint, crochet hook or cross stitch and join the group. There is no charge to attend.
7 PM at the TKA/BI building.
FUTURE DATES: e-mail Gail Raben.
13 Bess Glazier
14 Marla Schloss
16 Ilana Glazier
21 Carol Golob
21 Marni Jacobson
22 Jonathan Lowe
23 Daniel Kuhn
24 Jessica Singer
25 Max Feber
26 Herb Lantor
26 Karen Rosenberg
28 Madeline Kaufman
28 Ruth Webber
13 Andy and Libby Beider
13 Rabbi Mark and Amy Robbins
20 John Marcotte & Vicki Freedman
22 Steve & Joan Freedman
22 Leonard & Sharon Rosen
24 Belmont & Gertrude Kershenbaum
25 Lowell Schmeltz & Ilana Glazier
26 Ron & Sharon Gadoth-Goodman
27 Ken & Shula Brown
27 Lenny & Robin Jacobson
28 Robert & Laurie Kimmel
28 Noel & Judy Lawson
29 Mark & Loraine Kuhn
30 Alan & Barbara Funk
If your birthday or anniversary information is not listed, please email the synagogue so we can update our records.
B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ,
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.