top of page

Hukkat. An Anger Problem

One of the most enigmatic episodes of the entire Torah is in Parshat Hukkat. It is the scene in which Moses hits the rock, and is restricted by God from entering the Promised Land that he held so dear. The problem, the great mystery here, debated by all the classical commentaries, is what Moses did wrong. Moses seems to follow God’s instructions. Why is he punished?

…The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “You and your brother Aaron take the rod and assemble the community, and before their very eyes order the rock to yield its water. Thus you shall produce water for them from the rock …

Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as He had commanded him.

Moses and Aaron assembled the congregation in front of the rock;

He said to them, “Listen, you rebels, shall we get water for you out of this rock?”

Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod.

Out came copious water…

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of the Israelite people, therefore you shall not lead this congregation into the land that I have given them.” (20:7-12)

  • When you read the text, can you identify how Moses sinned?

It is very difficult to identify a clear, explicit sin.