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This theme will repeat itself over and over again throughout the Bible.Moses, of course, sees his error right away and accepts God's judgment.It's interesting to note that virtually none of the text of the Bible deals with the details of the wandering. The only brief mention of the travels that took place during those 38 years comes at the end of the Book of Numbers in the portion entitled Masei. Since the Bible is meant to teach us lessons and was not meant to be a diary or history book, only events that have a lesson relevant to us today are recorded; others are mentioned only briefly or skipped altogether.If you examine the text in the Book of Numbers you will notice that between the Torah portion dealing with Korach's rebellion (Num. Near the end of the 40 years of wandering, they find themselves -- as they did a number of times before -- without water.(2) And as they did a number of times before, they are complaining.Their complete, stubborn dedication to an idea that makes every Jew think he's right and every Jew think that he's going to change the world his way.This is a group that is very, very difficult to unify and almost impossible to lead.From morning till night we cried out for a sign that God was still with us... We were always accompanied by the crushing and unsettling feeling that God had disappeared from our midst." (Machshavot Magazine, Vol. 4) Throughout the rest of Jewish history, Jews in even the worst circumstances have viewed external problems, even the worst problems like being slaughtered en masse in the Crusades, as divine retribution for their mistakes.You will rarely find Jews, until the 20th century, saying "Where is God?
Again, actions of the Jews have huge consequences which reverberate throughout history.It is far easier to be the premier of a billion Chinese than the prime minister of a few million Jews.(3) (A humorous story illustrating this point is told about a meeting between former US President Harry Truman and the future Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir. And instead of speaking to the rock as he was commanded to do, he hits it.After a year at Mount Sinai, the Jewish people pack up their portable sanctuary and come to the borders of the Land of Israel.They should have entered the land at this point, but the Jewish people came to Moses and said, "Wait a minute, let's scout out the land first before we enter." So they select 12 "scouts" or "spies" -- one from each of the 12 tribes -- and send them in to do some reconnaissance work.