July 7, 2022 / 8 Tammuz, 5782 • Parshat Chukat
Issue 725
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

At G-d’s direction, the Jewish people remained encamped at the southern border of the Land of Israel for 19 years after Korach staged his rebellion against Moses. They then wandered in the desert for another 19 years, making 17 stops along the way. At the end of these 38 years, they arrived at the border of the kingdom of Edom, to the south of the Land of Israel. On the 10th of Nisan 2487, Moses’ sister Miriam died. The Jewish people’s source of water—the miraculous well that had followed them in the desert—disappeared, for it had existed only in Miriam’s merit. G-d subsequently restored it to the Jewish people in Moses’ merit.

The congregation had no water,

so they assembled against Moses and Aaron

Food nourishes the body, but the body needs water in order to absorb the nutrients in the food. Similarly, the “food” of the soul is the Torah and its “water” is the Torah’s ability to reach and influence all facets of our personalities, all types of people, and all aspects of life.

When the Jewish people’s existence was threatened in Egypt, Miriam was the one who ensured that there would be a new generation of Jews to carry on G-d’s mission. Not only did she encourage the Jewish people to continue having children, she also saved their newborns from being killed, in defiance of Pharaoh’s decree. On account of her efforts to ensure that the Torah would continue to “flow” into the next generation, the well existed in her merit.

With her passing, Moses had to assume her role. This teaches us that when other Jews are in physical or spiritual danger (thirsting either for actual water or for spiritual water—the Torah), we should come to their aid. If offering this type of assistance is not our forte, we should overlook this fact, as did Moses.

And when we selflessly help others, G-d in turn will help us with all our own needs.

—from Daily Wisdom