June 20, 2002
We have almost reached the end of the book of Numbers -- just as we are almost at the end of the school year. The Israelites have undergone a transformation. Sure, they still complain about the lack of food and water in this chapter. In fact, this is the chapter in which the famous "rock-hitting" incident occurs. (Moses hits, rather than speaks, to the rock and, as a result, is not allowed to enter the Land of Israel.) However, by the end of the chapter, the Israelites seem to be able to produce water themselves by simply singing for water. They sing: "Come up, O well! Call out to it!" (21:17). They are learning to take care of themselves.
Think about who you will be next year. Some of you will go to first grade or high school. Some of you, like my son, Amit, will be moving on to middle school. What habits will you have to leave behind? Which beloved teachers will you have to say goodbye to, just like the Israelites had to say goodbye to Moses, Aaron and Miriam? (Aaron and Miriam die in this chapter.) How will you learn to take care of yourself? Luckily, you've got the whole summer to think it over.