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Friday, February 10

פרשת בשלח - Bickering

The second to last of the many episodes that make up this week's parsha is the confrontation at מסה ומריבה. 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?"
אבן עזרא 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 Alush (their previous stop as per במדבר לג:יד). They wanted to challenge HaShem to see if He would provide water. To the first group, Moshe answered "Why do you quarrel with me?" To the second, he charged, "Why do you test HaShem?"
The site is therefore aptly named מסה ומריבה after the two separate aspects of the confrontation. However, notes אבן עזרא, the second group surely angered HaShem more than the first. Thus, in דברים ו:ט"ז we are warned "Do not challenge HaShem as you did at Masah." Merivah is not mentioned.

שבת שלום


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