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Friday, February 3

The Weekly Shtikle - Beshalach

    The second to last of the many episodes that make up this week's parsha is the confrontation at Masah uMerivah. The double name seems anomalous. B'nei Yisroel quarrelled with Moshe saying, "Give us water so that we may drink!" Moshe counters "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test HaShem?"
 
    Ibn Ezra explains that there were two distinct groups involved in this episode. The first group were truly in need of water and this led to their altercation with Moshe. However, there was another group that still had water which they brought from Alush (their previous stop as per Bemidbar 33:14). They wanted to challenge HaShem to see if He would provide water. To the first group, which had at least some semblance of a legitimate complaint, Moshe answered "Why do you quarrel with me?" To the second, he charged, "Why do you test HaShem?"
 
    The site is therefore aptly named Masah uMerivah after the two separate aspects of the confrontation. However, notes Ibn Ezra, the second group surely angered HaShem more than the first. Thus, in Sefer Devarim (6:17) we are warned "Do not challenge HaShem as you did at Masah." Merivah is not mentioned.
 
Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Exceptions Ahoy
Dikdukian: Leave us Alone

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