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Friday, June 18

The Weekly Shtikle - Chukas

Tomorrow, 9 Tammuz, is the 6th yahrtzeit of my sister-in-law, Batsheva Yeres. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Batsheva Blima, a"h bas HaRav Moshe Yosef HaLevi, ybl"t.


The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Oma, Chaya Sara bas Zecharia Chaim, a"h.


This week's shtikle is dedicated for a refuah sheleimah for my father.

Please include Reuven Pinchas ben Yehudis in your tefillos.


This week's parsha contains the unfortunate events of mei merivah. The tragic outcome of that incident was that neither Moshe nor Aharon were allowed to enter Eretz Yisroel. Moshe's role is clear although the actual understanding of exactly what the wrongdoing was is the subject of extensive discussion. One can't help but wonder if more ink has been spilled on the subject than the water that came out of the rock.


This is indeed a very difficult episode to understand, such that Ramban (20:8) concludes that it is indeed from the deeper secrets of the Torah. What seems to be largely left out of the conversation, however, is comprehending Aharon's role and why he is held responsible to the point that he received the very same punishment.


I wasn't able to find too much discussion on this in the commentaries. Some suggest that Aharon should have objected to Moshe's hitting of the rock. The command to Moshe was (20:8) "vedibartem," and you (plural) shall talk. However, HaShem commanded Moshe directly and it is unclear that Aharon even knew Moshe was doing something wrong.


R' Moshe Shternbuch, in Ta'am VaDa'as states simply that Aharon was punished merely because he was together with Moshe. They worked as a team, and they went down as a team. It's not that there was any specific wrongdoing on his part - just his being there alongside Moshe is what included him in the punishment. With this, he explains a Midrash on the pasuk following Aharon's death. The pasuk states, (20:29) "And the congregation knew following Aharon's death (or because Aharon died.)" The Midrash explains that B'nei Yisrael were afraid that they, too, would meet the same demise as the generation of the spies who would all perish before entering Eretz Yisrael. R' Shternbuch explains that they observed Aharon taking the fall after mei merivah, even though he was not guilty of any crime. They were therefore afraid that even though they, themselves, were not responsible, nor technically involved in the sin of the spies, their mere presence at the time would be enough to doom them to the same fate. Fortunately for them, this was not the case.


Indeed, the events of the last year-and-a-half – as well as tomorrow's yahrtzeit – have given us much more opportunity than we would like to reflect on how tragedy seems to befall those who are undeserving from our perspective. We are certainly no greater than the generation of the midbar and thus, it is not unreasonable to be moved by this phenomenon, albeit with the understanding that there are many aspects of this world that are far beyond our comprehension.


Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: What land was Sichon king of?

Dikdukian: Watch out for that Chirik
Dikdukian: Yahtzah, what is your real name?

Dikdukian: It wasn't thrown

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