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Punished...By Snakes?

The Lesson Behind Moses And The Fiery Serpents

Daniel Loewenstein
Daniel Loewenstein


We know that God is just, and when He punishes us, the punishment always fits the crime – what the Sages call מדה כנגד מדה, measure for measure. God’s actions are always proportionate and fair.

Parshat Chukat really puts that belief to the test. The Israelites complain about the manna – and God sends poisonous snakes to attack them. Is that a fair and just response? That doesn't sound מדה כנגד מדה.

But maybe that's because we're misunderstanding the real crime and the real punishment here. What if the people weren't really complaining about the manna? And what if God didn't really send snakes to attack the people?

Join Daniel Loewenstein as he analyzes the story of the snakes in the wilderness, and suggests there's a different story hiding in the details – a story that has something important to teach us, today. And no, it’s not about how to react when our kids don’t like what’s for dinner – it’s actually about what it means to be independent.

Click here to watch "Where It All Went Wrong."