The Torah, Numbers 20:9 – 20:11: Moses took the staff from before the Lord as He had commanded him. Moses and Aaron assembled the congregation in front of the rock, and he said to them, “Now listen, you rebels, can we draw water for you from this rock?”
Moses raised his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, when an abundance of water gushed forth, and the congregation and their livestock drank.
Moses cannot be connected to the Creator in the way that he is connected to the people. Therefore, instead of speaking to the rock as the Creator had commanded him, he struck the rock, performing an action to evoke pity for the people, empathy with Malchut, that wants to attain the attribute of Bina (bestowal).
For example, if anyone, even the wisest sage who wants to work only with the intention of in order to bestow, had a son or a grandson that suffers terribly for no reason, would he be able to remain loyal to the attribute of bestowal, convincing himself that this is Hesed (Mercy), and not the attribute of Din (Judgment)? Blood is thicker than water.
Therefore, a person is tested constantly in spirituality as to how much he is really part of the system of providence. At first, he cannot enter it and doesn’t see everything, but later everything becomes clear to him. It isn’t revealed in an egoistic manner, but only in the attribute of bestowal, the attribute of the ascent above his ego in which he feels the sufferings of more than his small child.
However, Moses cannot do it differently because if he had not sympathized with the people, he would not have been able to raise the desires of the children of Israel to the Creator. He is between them.
The question is, how could he have done otherwise? If he absorbed the sufferings of the people so much, it is likely that this justifies his action, and that this is the right approach toward the Creator.
The people cannot ascend to the Creator, and Moses actually raises their prayer: Here are our demands to You. Thus, he devotes himself to the people. Hitting the rock conveys the attitude of the people as to what is going on.
He absorbed the cry of the people, and thanks to that, they can enter the land of Israel and he cannot. This means that here he totally connects himself with both the people and the Creator.
We know of such cases throughout history. For example, Abraham asked the Creator not to destroy Sodom when its people were mired in sin, and Baal HaSulam asked to be lowered from his level so that the people would hear and feel him.
All of this suggests that the spiritual leaders always empathized with their people, with their anxieties and aspirations, because they are at the junction of the righteous people, humanity, and the Creator.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 6/24/15