Today’s Aliyah

Dvar Torah for Chukat 2nd Aliyah

Parashas Chukas describes the Jews complaining about a lack of water as they arrived at a place named Kadesh (20:1–14). Between the people’s arrival and complaining, we are briefly told that Miriam dies and is buried in Kadesh (20:1). The pasuk immediately following Miriam’s death starts with “And the congregation had no water…” which makes it seem that the shortage of water was a direct result of Miriam’s passing. Why is Miriam’s death relevant to this water shortage?

Rabbi David Fohrman explains that Miriam’s strength lay in her faith: when Moshe was placed in the river, Miriam watched from a distance to ensure that things worked out. Miriam’s faith was thenceforth associated with water, such that the rock that traveled with them and supplied the Jewish people with water stopped providing water when Miriam died. Miriam’s positive energy benefited everyone around her, and when she died, it highlighted just how important a positive attitude is to one’s well-being. The association between Miriam, water, and positivity helps us understand that life can be as good as our attitude and mindset.