Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A watershed moment in the Torah- Parshat Balak

Why was Miriam denied entry into the land? Moshe and Aharon we rebuked for their personal sins but what did Miriam do to deserve this punishment?
We could suggest that she sinned along with the generation of the spies and therefore she shares their punishment. Although I find this hard to digest for a number of reasons.
Alternatively we could suggest that she died for another reason.
Rashi appears to be sensitive to this, but explaining the death of Miriam being juxtaposed with the Parah Aduma- Just as korbanot mechaper so too does the death of tzaddikim. ie. Miriam didn't becuase of her own sin, but rather she 'died for the sins of the generation'.

Alternatively I would like to suggest that she did die by her sin- and that was the sin of speaking against Moshe at the end of Beha'alotcha. It is not that the actual Lashon Harah was such a severe crime, but rather it is that she was the first person to question the integrity of Moshe. Up until that point in time the people questioned Hashem out of fear, but never did they doubt the integrity of Moshe. Once Miriam normalised Moshe, she opened the floodgates that led to the Meraglim, Korah, Datan and Aviram etc. The belief in Moshe's nevuah is the foundation upon which all of judaism rests. Once Miriam created doubt, that doubt festered and still festers within bnei Yisrael.

It is for this crime that she was denied entry into the land.