• Rabbi Yitzchak Mizrahi

Parsha Lights – Chukat


The Midrash notes that the astrologers of Egypt foresaw in the stars that the downfall of the Jewish leader would be through water. Because of this the Pharaoh decreed that all male children born to the Jewish people should be thrown into the river. Knowing that water is the Achilles heel of the Jewish leader, they sought to preempt his rise by an early demise.

The astrologers were correct in their reading of the stars. The water at the rock was the trigger that shattered Moses’ dream of entering the Promised Land. But why water? What was it about the nature of Moses that rejected and was opposed to water?

The Maharal of Prague (late 16th century) explains that the world is made up of two elements – matter and form. Moses was a man who was principled. He was unbending and uncompromising in all things important; he was the epitome of form. Water, on the other hand, is the opposite in that it has no intrinsic form. It assumes the form of any container it is put in, it seeks the path of least resistance. Water is pure matter and conforms to any shape.

This is what the astrologers saw alluded to in the stars. They wrongly assumed that Moses could be drowned in the water as an infant and that would be the end of him. In reality, Moses simply was opposite in nature to the character of water.

#Chukat

©2020 by Wellington Jewish Community Centre.