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		                                    Word Of Torah		                                </span>

Word of Torah


Written by: Jason Schnissel

Parashat B'shalach

In addition to the pandemic, it seems that the early 2020’s will be defined as a period in which many celebrities and leaders fall from grace. While often the result of criminal behavior, it seems that we are now in an age in which no matter how well connected and wealthy an individual may be, they are forced to face the consequences of their actions. In this week’s Torah portion, B’shlach, Moses, in his role of leader, learns a behavior that when repeated in the future would have severe ramification.
In the portion the Israelites reach a truly milestone moment. They cross the parted Red Sea and in doing so escape Pharaoh’s army. For the first time in over 400 hundred years they are able to celebrate their freedom and praise God through a song which will later become the origin of the Mi Chamoach prayer. This joyous moment is fairly quickly overshadowed by complaint and despair as the Israelites kvetch over the lack of water. God seeks to remedy the situation and commands Moses to approach the rock in Horeb and strike it with his staff. Moses does so and water springs forth. While this resolves the current water crisis, this scenario later sets Moses up for failure.
Fast forwarding many moons, in Numbers 20, the Israelites again complain over the lack of water. This time, per God’s instructions, Moses is supposed to speak to a rock to bring forth water, however in-turn he strikes the rock with his staff twice. Water does spring forth, but Moses has erred and Aaron who was by his side is deemed guilty too. God immediately punishes the pair and shares that due to this action neither will be allowed to enter the land of Israel.
This mis-step demonstrates the consequences of learned behaviors and in this way Moses’ mistake parallels that of a good number of the leaders we have seen publicly shammed in the past few years. While their behaviors have been much, much more egregious, it is the pitfall of repetitious behavior that can often result in significant damage. Let’s each take a lesson from the Torah and know that just because something worked once, does not mean that we should go ahead and do it a second time.
Wed, January 19 2022 17 Shevat 5782