Accessing the Wellspring by Rabbi Benny Berlin
At the end of this week’s parasha, Parashat B’Shalach (Shemot 17:5-6), Moshe hits the rock that brings forth water to the people. This was considered a positive action; he was supposed to hit the rock. Fast forward to the story of Mei Meriva and that very same act causes Moshe Rabbeinu to be barred from entering Eretz Yisrael.

A question has confounded the mefarshim for generations. What exactly was Moshe’s sin the second time around?

Rav Siev explained as follows: the first time water was to be brought forth from the rock in Parashat B’Shalach, it could only be brought forth through the drastic action of hitting the rock. Once that happened, however, and the rock had become the vehicle of Hashem’s sustenance to the Jewish people and of Kiddush Hashem in the world, the
rock was endowed with kedusha. Once it was so endowed, things were different. The kedusha remained, hidden in the rock, even after it stopped giving forth water. All that
would be needed in order to induce it to give water again would be to speak to the rock.

Hitting it was no longer necessary.

The implications of this idea for us are clear. On the one hand, we must work hard to imbue ourselves with kedusha. We have the opportunity to build a foundation of
kedusha that cannot be removed. Clearly, the stronger and deeper that foundation is, the greater the impact it will have. Thus, by establishing a Torah lifestyle for ourselves,
strengthening our commitment to shemirat ha-mitzvot, and by learning Torah, we provide ourselves with a foundation that will benefit us forever.

At the same time, even if we have stopped regularly giving forth water, so to speak, we can always access the foundation we have set for ourselves. Once a person is imbued
with kedusha, that kedusha can always be accessed and brought to the fore – if only we will talk to it.