“וְאַתָּה הָרֵם אֶת מַטְּךָ וּנְטֵה אֶת יָדְךָ עַל הַיָּם וּבְקָעֵהוּ וְיָבֹאוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתוֹךְ הַיָּם בַּיַּבָּשָׁה”
“As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.”
God told Moses ‘stretch out your hand over the sea’ because Moses’s staff had the Holy name on one side. When the water sees the Holy name they would run away. There were different holy names on the staff needed for other purposes.
Rabbi Elazar says that sometimes he sees “the staff of Moses” and sometimes “the staff of God”.
“וַיִּקַּח מֹשֶׁה אֶת-מַטֵּה הָאֱלֹהִים, בְּיָדוֹ”
“And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.”
Rabbi Shimon answers that the book of Rav Hamnuna Sava explains that they both were the same. The staff had the Right side of mercy and the Left side of Gevurah. When God told Moses to stretch his hand he was referring to the Left hand that is Gevurah.
The holy names have power to control and change the material world but we must have the instruction and ‘permission from God to use them.
Moses followed the instruction and when later he chose to use the staff not according to God’s instructions, he was punished severely.
That event was when he hit the rock with the staff to bring out water from the rock instead of speaking to it as instructed (Numbers 20:11,12).
Even though Moses had a pure vessel and could channel the Light to make a miracle and draw water from the rock, he was using a ‘technique’ that wasn’t authorized by God. That lead to his punishment.