Parshas Devarim

“Hashem was angry with me because of you, and He said, “You will also not go there (to Eretz Yisrael).” (1:37)

Before Moshe hands over the leadership to Yehoshua, he makes a spiritual accounting with the nation. While he reflects on the grave transgression of the meraglim, he interrupts the account by saying that it was through this incident that he lost the merit to enter Eretz Yisrael. However, according to the simple understanding of events, it was Moshe himself who caused the loss of merit when he hit the rock instead of talking to it (Bamidbar 20:10-11). How are these two events connected?

The Or Hachaim explains that the punishment of the meraglim was extended to prevent Moshe from entering Eretz Yisrael. In reality it was actually a decree of mercy. Had Moshe been able to enter the land, he would have built the Bais Hamikdash and Hashem would never destroy it. Consequently, any future punishment that the Jews deserved would be taken out directly on the nation. This would have been more severe than the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash and the exile we are in now. Therefore, in order to lesson our trials and tribulations, Hashem in His mercy caused Moshe to hit the rock for the sake of the people.

Since the nation lacked emunah, they lost the benefit of Moshe’s leadership. This is what it means when it says, “They provoked anger at the waters of contention, and it went ill with Moshe because of them.” (Tehillim 107:32) It was through their continued lack of emunah that Moshe was “provoked” to hit the rock. We are in exile now to correct our emunah when we falsely cried to Hashem.

Am Yisrael is different than the other nations - we are one. This is demonstrated in the incident of the meraglim. Moshe was on a far higher spiritual level than the rest of the people and yet he was nonetheless affected by their lack of emunah. All our actions are interwoven. When acting for the good, one person can achieve the merit though his good deeds to elevate the entire nation. This is a result of our “Oneness”.

Each of us can elevate the entire nation by believing in Hashem’s guiding hand through these days of confusion. Our collective emunah as a nation protects us.

Over the years people have asked me if I would ever draw cartoons depicting some of the cases found in Yora Daya. Well, the answer is yes! I recently published a sefer called The Great Game of Kashrut. Click on the link to find out more: The Great Game of Kashrut

As for me, I don’t want to believe in a God that I understand. --

If you would like to dedicate a Davar Torah in honor of a special occasion or in memory of a beloved family member please contact Yisroel Simon at

Good Shabbos,
R’ Channen