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Why Was Aaron Punished With Moses?
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"All the House of Israel wept for Aaron for thirty days."  Numbers 20:29
 
Aaron was to be 'gathered to his people' because of "defying My words at the Waters of Meribah." (Numbers 20:24) Aaron's death was especially lamented because it was Moses, not Aaron, who thundered at the grumbling second-generation of Israelites with "Listen you rebels". And it was Moses who struck the rock instead of speaking to it. (Numbers 20:10-11) So why was Aaron's death connected with something he did not actually do?
 
Aaron's first appearance in the Torah is as Moses' communicator - both to Pharaoh, and to the suffering Israelites. Moses declared that he 'was not a man of words' but "heavy of mouth and heavy of speech" to which Yahveh replied, "your brother Aaron would speak on your behalf to the people."  (Exodus 4:10,16)
 
Many debate the precise nature of Moses' claim of verbal shortcomings. Being "heavy of mouth and heavy of speech" implies recognizing the need to be able to put one's case to the monarchy and to the public in an attractive way and to employ the gift of persuasion and avoid confrontation. It can also imply not to be verbally over zealous, thus driving away the very people you wish to win over.
 
Moses in his humility felt that it was not him: he said what had to be said and that was it. Aaron, on the other hand, was a peacemaker who was able to bring harmony between quarreling parties and in family disputes. Yet, when he saw that Moses struck the rock he kept quiet. (Numbers 20:10), He could have saved the entire situation and the rock would never have been struck. Instead, his silence was left to be filled by the more confrontational Moses and "Listen you rebels..."  
 
"There is a time for everything... A time to be silent and a time to speak."  Ecclesiastes 3:1,7  Was it time for Aaron to speak but he missed the opportunity?