Question: The Torah tells a story about how the people who were wandering around the desert faced death from lack of water and Moses turned to the Creator for help. The Creator instructed Moses to go and talk with a rock in front of all the people so it would give him water.
But instead of talking to it, Moses hit the rock with his staff, and “the waters of discord” flowed from it, named so from having disobeyed the Creator. Why did Moses, the leader of the entire nation, disobey the Creator’s instruction?
Answer: The rock is the ground, Malchut, the desire to receive pleasure, which needs to be corrected in order to be used “for the sake of bestowal.” This correction can either be in the form of a “blow” or a “talk,” depending upon the degree. It is in this way that it can produce an act of bestowal: the water flowing from it.
The water is the force that gives life to the desire to receive pleasure and turns it into the desire that receives for the sake of bestowal. When you “talk” with the rock, Malchut, you tune into it on the human level, the “speaking” level, the degree of Bina, and the water you derive from it carries life, bestowal, mercy (Hassadim).
But when you hit it, you derive “the waters of discord.” And even though it is water (the symbol of Bina, bestowal), this water is not kind (it carries the force of Gevurot); it has fallen under the influence of Malchut. This is the origin of all the typhoons, floods, and tsunamis. All these things are a reflection of the force of Bina controlled by Malchut.
“People” are all the private desires, and Moses is the highest quality which has the ability to receive the water of Bina by raising Malchut to it, the desire to receive pleasure. But Moses sees that there is not enough strength to lift all the other desires called “people” out of their current state and pull them over to the degree of Bina with him. And this is why instead of rising to a higher degree and “speaking,” he “hits” the rock, which means that instead of connecting with it on a higher, “speaking,” level, he only connects with it on the level of an “action.”
From the side of Moses, he was punished for this apparent sin. But we need to understand that all the “punishments” described in the Torah are corrections. He was simply unable to do it any other way, even though it was clear to him that at that moment he needed to attain the “speaking” degree: a certain level of connection between Malchut and Bina.
This is a result of his spiritual revelation, and it is called: “The Creator tells him.” But it is easier to carry it out quickly and correctly on the level of an action, and he does not see any other opportunity for correction.
This is why Moses was forced to “sin,” and his correction is in his “punishment” of not receiving permission to enter the land of Israel. He dies as he reaches the actual border. Even though he was not able to enter it (it is not his degree), he is called “a loyal guide,” and the maximum he can reach is Bina. And others continue after him.
A border is the line where I stop my actions of bestowal due to the lack of strength of the intention. This forces me to stop and no longer use my desire; I restrict myself.
To die means to lack the ability to do actions for the sake of bestowal.
From the Lesson on Weekly Torah Portion 6/27/2011