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Dr. Israel Eldad

Principles for a Hebrew Liberation Movement
by Dr. Eldad

Parshat Pekude
by Dr. Eldad
Parshat Va'ayrah
by Dr. Eldad

Introduction to the Book of Shmot
by Dr. Eldad

Parshat Vayishlach
by Dr. Eldad

Midrash Vayesu
by Dr. Eldad


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Parshat Chukat 
by Dr. Israel Eldad
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The People wanted water. They wanted to drink back then, when Miriam sang and danced, and now again they want to drink after Miriam dies. A generation may come and go, but the desert remains the desert and the flesh remains the flesh. Thirst is not a sin, but this complaint is: Why did you take us out of Egypt?

The memory of the Exodus from Egypt will never leave the hearts of the People. Yet the complaint is again heard: Why did you take us out of Egypt?

We hear that there's no bread and there's no water, and still again, like a refrain:
Why did you take us out of Egypt?

The desert is terrible, the thirst unbearable, the manna is too light. They can't wait until someone will come and tell them the midrash about the manna tasting "whatever you like." And even if the manna tasted like a cookie dipped in honey, they'd still get sick of honey after 40 years.

"Why did you take us out of Egypt" is a slave's question. But wait: does this mean that forty years of education were for n aught? All of this was a waste of time? If they still have no faith in God and continue to complain, if they will sin at Ba'al Peor just like with the Golden Calf, wasn't it all a waste?

No, it wasn't. Because not for the sin of complaining or the sin of faith in God were the People condemned to 40 years in the desert. They received their sentence because of the sin of the spies - the sin of being afraid.

And within 40 years, you can raise a new generation that won't be afraid of the Egyptian slavemasters or of enemies in Canaan; and this generation was indeed raised in the desert!

The incident at Mei Merivah, with Moshe hitting the rock, was a watershed between the two generations. After that, the Jewish people rise up, and start the long march on Canaan.

And then we hear: Az Yashir Yisrael - "Then the People of Israel sang." Not just Moshe and Miriam alone singing, but the entire People of Israel. We had finally made the jump between a slave mentality and a free People. 

Contemplations of the Bible , Tel Aviv, 1986