2 Posted by - June 25, 2014 - Bamidbar, Parsha


Parashat Hukat

knock gently on our doors. If we are not listening closely, we don’t take advantage of the opportunity, and it slips away. Temptations in life don’t knock. They lean on the doorbell and are hard to ignore. People who succeed in life are good at noticing the gentle knocking of opportunity. Likewise, they are good at ignoring the constant buzzing of temptation. The greater the person, the greater he is at noticing opportunities and taking advantage of them. And the better he is at ignoring the temptation, till it just gives up and goes away.

There are business opportunities and relationship opportunities. There are opportunities in self-improvement and opportunities to express our gratitude to G-d.  Listen closely, so you don’t miss the knock, so the opportunity doesn’t go away.  I find that the summer is one of those opportunities that life occasionally brings. Opportunity to change scenery and to spend quality time with the people who bring quality to our lives. Opportunity to rekindle old friendships in new ways. When we take advantage of life’s opportunities, we get more of them. When we disregard them, they disregard us. This is a lesson from our Parasha.

Moshe hit the rock. G-d told Moshe to take the staff, gather the congregation, and speak to the rock so that it would give forth water. But Moshe hit it, instead. For this mistake, for not sanctifying G-d’s Name in the proper way, G-d decreed that Moshe was not to enter the Land of Israel. Moshe would die in the desert. And, our Rabbis tell us, if Moshe had brought us into the Land of Israel, the Holy Temple would never have been destroyed, and there would have been no exile.

For Moshe, this was a severe punishment. Moshe wanted to enter the land not to taste its luscious fruits, but to fulfill the mitzvoth that can be performed only in Israel. Why was he to be given such a harsh punishment? What was so grave about the act of hitting the rock that Moshe lost the opportunity of entering Israel?

The answer is that hitting the rock was not the sin. The sin was missing another opportunity to sanctify G-d’s Name. Because he missed the opportunity to sanctify G-d’s Name, he lost the next opportunity to enter the Holy Land. As much as he prayed, and he prayed a lot, G-d did not knock again with opportunity. It was not a punishment; it was cause and effect. You miss the knocking, and opportunities slip away. You can’t get them back.

Hellen Keller once said, “Life is a daring adventure, or it is nothing at all.” Some people know how to make a living, but don’t know how to live. They go from temptation to temptation, with no meaning in life. There is no better way to live than to listen for opportunity to knock and to make the best of it. Life is one big opportunity.  It is an opportunity to sanctify G-d’s Name in this world through praying and learning Torah, to better our relationships. Take advantage of the opportunity. Take advantage of life, before it slips away!



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