Today’s Aliyah

Dvar Torah for Chukat 4th Aliyah

As Moshe tries to negotiate passage through the land of Edom, he proposes that the people pass through Edom without going through fields or vineyards and without drinking from “the well” (20:17). Rashi wonders why Moshe expressed not to drink from a single well when presumably Edom had many.

While most commentaries explain this statement to mean that the Jews would avoid using Edom’s resources, Rashi suggests the opposite. Rashi suggests that Moshe offered to support the local economy by buying water from local vendors and not from the portable well that traveled with the Jews as their water supply. Rashi derives from this a crucial component when visiting foreign places away from our own: support the locals as much as possible. Perhaps this new business balances the hospitality granted and increases mutually beneficial exchanges with others.