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In the portion Chukat, Moses gathers the Israelites, who are complaining they don't have anything to drink, around a stone. The Creator tells him to speak to the stone, which will give its water, but Moses hits the stone twice instead. The Creator then says to Moses and Aaron, ya’an lo he’emantem bi lehakdisheni, meaning, “Because you did not trust in Me, you will not lead this nation into the Land of Israel.”
Every year when we come to this portion, I try to find a deeper, new way to view this story, and I’m excited to share one that I think is not only a beautiful, powerful teaching, but also a practical one.
In the Midrash, there is a story about when Abraham sent his son Ishmael away with his mother. She’s in the desert, doesn’t see any water, and thinks she’s going to die of thirst. But then it says the Creator opened up her eyes, and she sees the wellspring of water. The Midrash tells us to remember this phrase: “Everybody must know that they are blind until the Creator opens up their eyes.”
The understanding is that we are constantly blind, which means that, truly, we don’t understand or see anything. Even though our conscious, logical mind is trying to tell us that we’re seeing, understanding, and knowing, it is all lies. We have no idea what's going on until the Creator opens up our eyes. We have to live our life knowing that 99.9% of the time we're seeing lies and illusions; however, every once in a while the Creator is going to open up our eyes.
Everything that any person ever needs is there for them. Whenever a person worries how they are going to make money, feed their children, and so on, the solution, the assistance, is there. Whatever problems we think we have, the solution is right there in front of us. If we have a lack in our life, the fulfillment of that lack exists at the same time, and it is right in front of us. But because we live in the illusion of this world, we can't see it.
However, if we start knowing that it's there, just as how with Ishmael’s mother the well was there, but she didn't see it until the Creator opened up her eyes, we too have to understand that whatever lack we have, whatever problem we have, whatever situation we have, the fulfillment of that need is right here, right now, but we are blind to it. And then, when we merit the Light of the Creator opening up our eyes, suddenly we see that it's so easy; we thought we had to do all these difficult things to find the solution, but it's right here.
And so, what happened there, in the portion of Chukat? The Creator wanted the Israelites to stand in front of the rock in the middle of the desert and say, “We have certainty there's water here,” even though they were in the desert, standing in front of a dry rock. Even though there was no water there, and their logical minds told them they were all going to die, the Creator needed them to be in this place of elevated consciousness to know that if they are thirsty and need water, the water's right there.
Had the Israelites come to that consciousness, then forget about hitting the rock, Moses wouldn't have even had to speak. The water would have started flowing. But because the Israelites thought, “We're in the desert sitting in front of dry rock, and we're all going to die,” the water didn't come out. Moses wasn’t really just supposed to bring them water; the problem wasn't that the Israelites didn't have water, the problem was that their consciousness was low. They didn't know that the solution to whatever lack they had was right in front of them. Therefore, the problem was that Moses was not able to elevate the Israelites to this level of consciousness.
Why did the Israelites find themselves in the desert with no water? Technically, we could say it’s because Miriam passed away and the well of Miriam went away. But the deeper point is that they were ready for an elevation. They were ready for a higher level of consciousness. And the Creator gave them the opportunity; one they didn't take, just as we often don’t take.
From this, we learn two unbelievably powerful teachings. First, we have to know that we're blind. Almost everything we're seeing right now is not true, and if we merit it, every once in a while, the Creator will open up our eyes. We see a little bit of truth here, a little bit of truth there, but most of the time, we have to accept that much of what we’re seeing is not true. Second, is the understanding that the answer we need at any given time to everything is always right there. The solution, the assistance, is right there. And if we have that consciousness, we see it, and it's revealed to us.
Yet, if we don't have that consciousness, it's not revealed to us. Moses was meant to take the Israelites and say, “Let's elevate our consciousness now. You're in the desert, you see a dry stone, that's what your logical mind is telling you. But now elevate from that and know that there is water in this stone right here. Why? Because if you need it, it must be there.”
Had the Israelites elevated to that state, the water would have flowed out; there would have been no need for Moses to speak to, or hit, the rock. The solution - the water that they needed - was there, and then they would have entered into the Land of Israel, Moses would have entered in the Land of Israel, and the End of the Correction would have happened. As such, on Shabbat Chukat, there is an overriding elevation of consciousness that we want to understand. Everything that we need is right here, and the strength of that consciousness is what reveals it.