14 July 2016
This week’s parasha is one of the most perplexing of the Torah In Chukkat, God forbids Moses and Aaron from entering the Promised Land. The reason, we are told, is that instead of instructing a rock to yield water with a rod as God had commanded, Moses struck the rock – twice – and did it himself rather than working with Aaron as mandated by God.
The punishment seems harsh. After Moses’ diligent service for the people of Israel over the last 40 years, he surely deserved to join the Israelites as they crossed the border into Canaan. What failure he must have felt! Interestingly, few of us ever look at Moses as a failure at all and instead we judge his life by what he accomplished.
Although we, like Moses, understand that both setting, and meeting, goals for ourselves is important, the Torah teaches us that measurement of success is far more than meeting a specific goal. Particularly, when it comes to judging the success our own lives we learn that how we live each day, the relationships we make, the impact we have on our families, friends, associates and our community are the most critical measures of success. Perhaps the lesson from this week’s reading is just that: our destinations in life may not be as important as the roads we take getting there.