Even though he led the Jewish people through great adversity, Moshe, a man so righteous that he spoke mouth to mouth with G-d, never set foot in Israel. What sin could be so great as to not permit such a holy leader like Moshe to enter Eretz Yisroel?
This week’s parshah provides commentaries with potential sins Moshe could have committed to deserve such a punishment. In the parshah, Miriam dies, and the Jewish people thirst and complain for water, so G-d tells Moshe to speak to the rock and command it to bring forth water. However, Moshe, angered by the Israelites, strikes the rock. Some commentaries, such as Rashi’s, believe that Moshe’s sin involved striking the rock instead of speaking to it as G-d had commanded. Others, such as that of Maimonides, explain that because Moshe became angered by the Jewish people and addressed them as “Hear now, you rebels,” he was denied entrance to the Holy Land.
However, in the Torah, Hashem says to Moshe, “Because you did not believe in me, you will not enter the Promised Land.” Nachmanidies elucidates that Moshe’s sin was his failure to recognize Hashem in the miracle of water flowing out from the rock. Instead, Moshe tells the Jewish people, “Shall we (Moshe and Aharon) get you water out of this rock?”
As Jewish people, we are persecuted and experience anti-Semitism, yet somehow we persevere and continue to survive. It is crucial to recognize that our unnatural survival stems from Hashem’s greatness and promise to protect us. While it is easy to dismiss this and believe that our survival and success is accredited to our own accomplishments, we must acknowledge G-d’s immense role in our resilience.