Tuesday, Sivan 22, 5776 / June 28, 2016 - Hakhel year
This week’s Parsha, Shlach, begins with G-d’s response to the people’s demand to send spies to scout the land of Canaan (Israel). The Jewish people were now close to the border of Canaan, their promised land. But before entering, they wanted to check out the land and its inhabitants.
G-d told Moshe, “Send for you men to explore the land of Canaan which I am giving to the children of Israel. Send one man for each tribe. Each one should be a leader amongst them.”
As mentioned yesterday, G-d was not happy in their lack of trust in Him. G-d promised to give them the land. After all the miracles which G-d performed for them in Egypt and in the desert until now, they should have known better and have enough faith in G-d.
G-d told Moshe, “If you so desire, you may send the spies.” G-d did not encourage it. In the end, ten of the twelve spies came back with a negative report and the people refused to go into the land.
Only two, Calev, of the tribe of Juda and Joshua (Yehoshua), of the tribe of Ephraim, came back with a positive report. But they couldn’t influence the people, who were convinced negatively by the ten spies.
The Torah tells us that they cried that night, after hearing the report. G-d punished them that everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty, who refused to go into the land will die in the desert during the next forty years.
The Kli Yakar commentary on the Torah explains the words, “Send out for yourselfmen to explore the land..” that G-d told Moshe, “If you want to send men, then send them, but if you send women to scout the land there would be a better chance that they will come back with a positive report about the land.”
The women had more of a positive feeling towards the Promised Land. Indeed, when the spies came back with a negative report, only the men were influenced and refused to go. The women still desired to go into Israel and as a result they were not punished like the men, who died in the desert. They ended up going into Israel forty years later. Also, the tribe of Levi were not influenced.
Q.What happened to the ten spies?
A.The Torah tells us, “The men who spoke bad about the Land died right away in a plague before G-d.”
Q.Who were the two spies, Calev and Joshua, who spoke well about the land?
A.Calev was Miriam’s (Moshe’s sister) husband. Betzalel, who was the architect and responsible for the construction of the Mishkan and its contents, was the great grandson of Calev. Joshua was Moshe’s devoted and most trusted student. Joshua went on to become the leader of the Jewish people after Moshe’s passing, thirty eight years later.
HAVE A VERY GOOD, HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL DAY
Monday, Sivan 21, 5776 / June 27, 2016 - Hakhel year
This week's Parsha (in the Diaspora), is Shlach. It begins with the story of the twelve spies that Moshe sent to scout the land of Canaan which G-d promised to the Jewish people. Instead of encouraging the people to go up and conquer the land, ten of the spies brought back a negative report which discouraged the people.
They told of the giants who live in the land. They concluded their report by saying, "The land through which we have passed is a land which eats up its inhabitants!” Only two, Joshua and Calev, spoke positive and encouraged them on.
The people were so distressed that they wanted to go back to Egypt, refusing to go into the Promised Land. G-d punished them and instead of continuing to the Promised Land they stayed in the desert for forty years, until those who refused to go to Israel all died.
Q.What is the connection between the end of the previous Parsha, Bha'alotcha, where the Torah tells us about Miriam’s being punished when she spoke against Moshe, and the beginning of this Parsha?
A.The Torah records the story of the spies immediately after the story of Miriam’s speaking negatively against Moshe and her punishment, as the spies should have learned a lesson from Miriam's punishment and not spoken negatively about the Promised Land.
Q. What did they see which made them describe the land as, "a land which eats up its inhabitants?"
A. In order that the spies should not be harmed, G-d brought a plague wherever the spies went. Thus, the people of the land were busy burying their dead and did not pay attention to the spies.
Had their faith in G-d been complete, the spies would have realized that this was for their benefit. However, because they lacked faith in G-d's promise that the land was good, they attributed the deaths to, "a land which eats up its inhabitants!"
Q. The spies said, "And we were in our own eyes as grasshoppers and so we were in their eyes." What lesson can one derive from this?
A. Our rabbis explain that as a person is in his own eyes so too he is perceived by others. Had the spies been positive and confident in their mission, remembering that they were sent by Moshe, they would have been proud of their mission. But with their negative attitude ("we were in our own eyes as grasshoppers") they projected the same image about themselves to the inhabitants of the land; as small and meaningless creatures.
Lesson: When we do a mitzvah, performing our G-dly mission in this world, it is important to feel proud and positive about what we are doing. This feeling will then be projected and transmitted to others. They will look at us in a positive way and they too will be influenced to do the same.
HAVE A VERY GOOD, HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SUCCESSFUL DAY