Judaism: Chukat: Can Rocks Hear?
HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook zts"lFirst Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, revered and famed Torah sage, philosopher, writer, poet, iconic and beloved leader of religious Zionism and the return to Zion (1865-1935).
What is the meaning of God's instruction to Moses to speak to the rock? Can rocks hear us?
The short answer is - yes! Nature and all of its laws are listening. They listen for the call of redemption. They yearn for the messianic light that preceded the creation of the universe. When this unifying light is uncovered, the world's divided factions are connected and bound to their underlying foundation.
As Moses approached to speak to the rock, all of creation was listening.Tragically, instead of speaking, Moses hit the rock. The waters, meant to revive and nourish the people, became instead Mei Merivah - 'Waters of Dispute,' bringing conflict and discord into the world. With his impatience and anger, Moses introduced a framework of coercion and force, thus debasing the universe. The world was no longer ready to listen, in attentive quietude,to the inner voice of the Infinite.
The paradigm shifted from speaking to striking, from receptive listening to coercive force.
A World That Listens
This tragic discord will be healed through the Divine spirit that beats within the wisdom of Israel. The flowing waters of Israel's wellspring - the Torah - will heal the discord of Mei Merivah. Every Jewish soul has a part in revealing this wisdom. It will arise powerfully, enabling the living word of God to penetrate all hearts. The return to patient communication will awaken the world's latent state of listening, in all its splendor.
"You have opened my ears. You have not asked for burnt and sin offerings. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come, with a scroll of a book written for me.'" (Psalms 40:7-8)
We yearn for a world with open ears, ears capable of hearing the inner call. We aspire for a world where our inner truth, the light of the Life of the worlds, is expressed, not by force and coercion, but by words and books. "Behold, I have come, with a scroll of a book written for me."
The Tikunei Zohar identifies the staff which Moses used to redeem the Jewish people with the pen. "With the staff of God - that is the pen." Moses' staff, used to strike the rock, will be transformed into a tool of communication and dialogue. And the art of literature will flourish, redeemed from its waywardness.r
(Adapted from Shemonah Kevatzim, book VII, section 28) Sent to Arutz Sheva by Rabbi Chanan Morrison.