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Chukat

  
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 20:7  20:8
20:8 'Take the staff, and you and Aaron assemble the community. Speak to the cliff in their presence, and it will give forth its water. You will thus bring forth water from the cliff, and allow the community and their livestock to drink.'
Kach et-hamateh vehakhel et-ha'edah atah ve'Aharon achicha vedibartem el-hasela le'eyneyhem venatan meymav vehotseta lahem mayim min-hasela vehishkita et-ha'edah ve'et-be'iram.



Commentary:

staff
  Some say that this was Aaron's staff, which was placed in the Holy of Holies (see Numbers 20:9, 17:25; Chizzkuni; K'li Yekar; Zera Berakh 2). According to others, it was Moses' staff, which had been kept in the Tabernacle (Lekach Tov; Abarbanel; cf. Targum Yonathan). This was the staff with God's name engraved on it (Midrash Aggadah). According to one opinion, God had told Moses to take his own staff, but Moses took Aaron's (Tzafanath Paaneach).

Speak to
  Or, 'Speak to [the Israelites] regarding...' (Ramban; Ralbag; Tur).

cliff
  The Hebrew word sela denotes a cliff or any other bedrock that protrudes from the ground, and not a loose rock on the surface. Some say that he was to speak to the nearest rock available (Ramban).

in their presence
  (see HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). Or, 'to the first one they see' (Ramban).





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