Thursday, July 17, 2008

Abarbanel's Survey of Moshe's Sin, pt iv

Abarbanel continues his survey of opinions on the identity Moshe's sin by Mei Merivah. (See previous segment here.)

8) Ibn Ezra: That Moshe, in his anger, severed the connection which he had with Hashem, through which he (typically) performed the signs and wonders. And this position is actually a collection or combination of positions. For it states that Moshe, because of anger (like Rambam) sinned when he did not speak but instead hit (like the first position, of Rashi and midrash), and thus water did not go out at the first striking and he needed to hit a second time (like the 5th position), for so did the Ran do, when he composed a position consisting of the other positions.

9) That of the author of sefer haIkkarim: That the sin was that they did not innovate the solution of themselves, by speaking to the rock to give its waters (without God first commanding them). For when a prophet decrees in the name of Hashem on natural matters that they should change, he speaks and Hashem will fulfill in. As a result, Hashem's name is sanctified. And this is like Eliyahu did when he said {I Kings 17:1}

א וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלִיָּהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי מִתֹּשָׁבֵי גִלְעָד, אֶל-אַחְאָב, חַי-ה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר עָמַדְתִּי לְפָנָיו, אִם-יִהְיֶה הַשָּׁנִים הָאֵלֶּה טַל וּמָטָר--כִּי, אִם-לְפִי דְבָרִי. {ס} 1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said unto Ahab: 'As the LORD, the God of Israel, liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.' {S}
And so too when he said {II Kings 1:12}
יב וַיַּעַן אֵלִיָּה, וַיְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם, אִם-אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים אָנִי, תֵּרֶד אֵשׁ מִן-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְתֹאכַל אֹתְךָ וְאֶת-חֲמִשֶּׁיךָ; וַתֵּרֶד אֵשׁ-אֱלֹהִים מִן-הַשָּׁמַיִם, וַתֹּאכַל אֹתוֹ וְאֶת-חֲמִשָּׁיו. 12 And Elijah answered and said unto them: 'If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty.' And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
And that this was the sin of Moshe -- that he did not fill his heart to sanctify the name of Heaven in public. And from there Yehoshua learned when he said "Sun in Giveon, stand still."

And behold, this is also not correct, for behold by the rock in Chorev, in which the people contended with him, Moshe did not do anything, and Hashem then commanded him what to do. (And that was no sin.) And also here, the speech came to him what to do, and how can it then be reckoned to him as a sin?

{Perhaps there we do not have Moshe fleeing. His asking Hashem for direction might be instantaneous. Here, it was apparent to the nation that Moshe was confounded. Even if the speech came to him what to do, it was the waiting for the speech that was problematic, not his fulfillment of the directives after the fact.}

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