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    Moshe Rabbeinu
    was punished for
    hitting the stone, and
    the meforshim
    explain, in various
    ways, exactly where
    Moshe erred and what
    he did wrong.
    Rashi teaches that his
    sin was that he hit the
    rock and he didn’t
    speak to it.
    Another explanation
    is that his error was
    when he rebuked the
    nation, he insulted them because he said,
    listen rebellious ones.” The Ohr HaChaim
    writes, “Hashem’s hakpadah (complaint)
    was that Moshe said to the children of the
    living G-d, rebellious ones, and it isn’t
    proper for a chossid to disgrace and
    belittle the children of Avraham Yitzchak
    and Yaakov.”
    The Bas Ayin combines both
    explanations. At first, Moshe disgraced
    the nation when he said, “listen rebellious
    ones.” After saying this, Moshe was to
    speak to the stone to bring forth water.
    But after disgracing the nation, Moshe

    thought that his words wouldn’t be
    effective anymore. He thought, “How can
    a mouth that just insulted the holy Jewish
    nation be able to bring forth water from a
    stone? In my situation, words won’t help
    anymore.” And this is the reason Moshe
    chose to go to plan B and to hit the stone
    Moshe’s error was that he underestimated
    the potential of teshuvah. Moshe realized
    that he shouldn’t have spoken negatively
    to the Jewish nation and repented. Yet, he
    still believed that he lost the power of
    speech, but this wasn’t correct. After his
    teshuvah, he could once again perform
    wonders with his words. If he had spoken
    to the stone, it would have given forth
    This lesson applies to every Yid.
    Obviously, we must be cautious with our
    speech. If one speaks lashon hara or other
    forbidden words, he loses his power of
    tefillah to a certain extent. How can he
    daven with a mouth that rebelled against
    Hashem? How effective could words
    coming from such a mouth be? However,
    we mustn’t lose hope, and we mustn’t
    stop davening. We must know that we can
    do teshuvah, it takes just a moment, and

    we have the power of tefillah again. We
    must believe in the potential of teshuvah.
    The Midrash says that if Moshe Rabbeinu
    had spoken to the stone, the Beis
    HaMikdash would never have been
    destroyed. The second Beis HaMikdash
    was destroyed because of sinas chinam
    and lashon hara.
    If Moshe had spoken to the stone, the
    nation wouldn’t have committed the sins
    of sinas chinam and lashon hara. How is
    The Chasam Sofer zt’l explains that
    people speak lashon hara because they
    think words don’t harm. If Moshe had
    spoken to the stone and brought forth
    water, it would have taught the nation the
    power of speech. And by extension, they
    would understand the severity of lashon
    hara. But because he smote the stone, this
    lesson was lost. They didn’t learn how
    powerful simple words can be. Therefore,
    Chazal tell us that if Moshe had spoken to
    the stone to bring forth water, the nation
    wouldn’t speak lashon hara, and the Beis
    HaMikdash would have never been
    Reb Moshe Benzelovitz zt’l, a chassid of
    the Imrei Emes of Gur zt”l, had an

    excruciating toothache. To keep his mind
    off the pain, he kept crossing the street,
    back and forth. The Imrei Emes summoned
    for him, and Reb Moshe, a loyal chassid,
    went immediately despite his pain. The
    Rebbe said, “I heard that you have
    toothaches. It is because you speak lashon
    hara. If you stop speaking lashon hara
    about Yidden, the pain will disappear.”
    Reb Moshe Benzelovitz said that this
    counsel healed him. He never again spoke
    lashon hara and didn’t suffer anymore
    from toothaches. This went on for many
    years. One night he spoke avak lashon
    hara (a lighter form of lashon hara) and
    was in excruciating pain the entire night.
    He immediately made another kabalah
    never to speak lashon hara; since then, the
    pain has never returned.