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Parasha Notes: Huqqath 5775

June 28, 2015

Every story in Huqqath parallels something earlier, but with critical differences that set the second generation, the one after the generation of the Exodus, apart from the first.

The first story describes Miriam’s death, the people’s complaint about the lack of water, and Moses’s striking the rock, instead of speaking to it. This parallels the story described in Exodus 17:1-7.

Unlike the first generation, they complained when there really was a problem. The verse testifies that they had no water, and unlike their predecessors, the nature of their complaint was not that they wished to return to Egypt, but that they had yet to reach Canaan, which is why they say “If only we had died with the death of our brothers before the Lord,” because the first generation had already died, and “Why have you taken us out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place; it is not a place for seeds, or for fig trees, grapevines, or pomegranate trees, and there is no water to drink,” (Numbers 20:3-5) describing the desired land the way Moses describes it in Deuteronomy 8:7-9: “The Lord your God is bringing you to a good land, a land with brooks of water, fountains and depths, that emerge in valleys and mountains, a land of wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil-producing olives and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity.” (The “seeds” in the first quote are the wheat and barley of the second.) When the first generation complained, they yearned for the foods they recognized from Egypt (Numbers 11:5): “We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt free of charge, the cucumbers, the watermelons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.” In this story, the people are not blamed for their actions, nor are they threatened with any punishment, unlike the previous generation, which was punished when they did similarly.


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