|Table Talk: Chukat|
Hiding: “The table is set. The meat is served. There is a knife prepared. But we have naught to eat.” (Kiddushin 46a) God’s commandment to Moshe is written before us. Moshe’s actions are not hidden from us. We are astounded by God’s wrath. We have no explanation. (Rabbi Yitzchak Arama; Akeidat Yitzchak: Chukat) Since the time of Rav Saadya Gaon, biblical commentators have struggled to explain Moshe’s sin. The Or HaChaim lists ten explanations; 3 rejected by the Ibn Ezra, 3 by the Ramban and the rest by the Or HaChaim HaKadosh (Rabbi Chaim Ibn Atar 1696-1743). The Shadal (Shmuel David Luzzatto 1800-1865) recommends that since there are already 13 explanations of Moshe’s sin, that we cease discussing the matter as each commentator comes up with a new sin! Maimonides (Shmone Perakim 4) focuses on Moshe’s anger. (A Bow for One’s Students) I would like to call your attention to 20:6: “And Moshe and Aaron came away from the assembly into the Tent of Meeting.” Rather than face the assembly and rebuke them, Moshe and Aaron took refuge in the Mishkan.