This is a postcard from the beginning of the twentieth century, depicting Moshe hitting the rock with his stick. As a result of his actions, water is flowing from the rock and the Children of Israel are filling up their vessels. The artist has drawn Moshe with rays of light emanating from his face, a depiction presumably inspired by Christian illustrations of holy figures. This may be due to a misunderstanding of the verse in the Torah: “For the skin of the face of Moses was radiant” (Exodus 34:35). In Hebrew the words skin (עור) and light (אור) are spelt differently but usually pronounced the same.
This picture was printed on a Shana Tova postcard that was printed in Germany. The corners of the postcard are decorated with flowers, as was customary on Shana Tova cards of the time. On the upper part of the postcard there is an inscription in German: “Moses schlägt den Felsen,” (Moses hitting the rock). On the lower part of the postcard there is a greeting for a good year in both German and Hebrew. Shana Tova cards are designed in many different styles, and Bible stories have been a common theme historically.
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Connection to Parashat Chukat
In this parasha we read one of the most famous accounts in the Torah. Moses was commanded to speak to the rock in order to provide water for the Jewish People, but, instead, he struck the rock with his staff. Although water still emerged from the rock, God was displeased with his actions, saying: “Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of the Israelite people, therefore you shall not lead this congregation into the land that I have given them.”