This week, our Parshat HaShevua Sh’lach is being sponsored by Dr. Eli and Miri Behar of Ramat Beit Shemesh L’ilui Nishmas for the Yahrtzeit of Yerachmiel Meir ben Nissim Avraham. To the Behar family, many thanks for your sponsorship and continued kindness.
You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring (or as the case may be, co-sponsoring) a Parshat HaShevua.
Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.
Our Parsha Shelach, and the affair of the miraglim — the spies, annually brings to mind the evolution of the Israeli media, academia, political, governmental scene which has brought us to the state of affairs we are facing and continue to face today, and conjures up ways in which today’s state of affairs could parallel the event of the miraglim in Bamidbar.
This author recalls the infancy of the so-called “peace movement” and modern-day Israeli “progressivism” with its multitudinous tentacles which eventually became the alt-leftist NGOs (non-governing organizations funded by foreign lobbies and governments). The memory harkens back to one Yom Nora’im (High Holidays) the late-1980s in Philadelphia. These were the years just prior to becoming Ba’al Teshuva, and when the seeds of “Shalom Achshav” — “Peace Now” (sic) were being tended by the then-nascent Israeli/Jewish left.
The conservative synagogue attended for Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur had a practice of bringing in a young JTS (Jewish Theological Seminary) student as guest “rabbi” to help and assist the synagogue’s long-time Rabbi who was getting on in years. This particular Yomim Tovim, they brought in a young fellow who proceeded to pitch the philosophies of Breira, one of these leftist-agendized predecessors of Shalom Achshav.
These were years before “Shalom Achshav” emerged and succeeded in snowing and propagandizing hundreds of thousands of secular Israelis while sprouting and growing, with the help of European NGOs, numerous different heads and tentacles which connected with leftist, Arabist, anti-semetic foreign funding sources.
And so this young conservative “traditional (sic)” rabbi-to-be proceeded to turn the Torah’s account of the Miraglim (the spies) on its head. He portrayed the evolution of leftist “ideology”; from Breira, to the Progressives, to “Shalom Achshav”: of “land for peace (sic),” as a worthy sequel to Yehoshua and Caleiv, the two spies who took their lives in their hands while standing against the ten to defend Hashem while urging the people on into Eretz Yisrael.
This whole premise of “land for peace (sic)” and portrayals, such as that of this student rabbi-wannabe who equated Yehoshua and Caleiv with contemporary alt-left progressives, is built on a base of unverified “PA” demographics data which successive Israeli governments have accepted as gospel but which been confuted time and again by independent demographic research and data which show:
both the steady high birthrates of the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria and the ongoing and increasing emigration of the Arab population from those areas. The media rarely notes that the reports of massive Arab population growth have been deliberately exaggerated…” (cited from Jerusalem Post piece: Demographic threat? Nonsense, By David Rubin – link has since been deleted by Jerusalem Post)
And as it turns out, these fake “PA” census and demographics data serve as cover for what seems to be a beneath-the-surface manifestation of irrational hatred and disdain, by their proponents, for their religious roots by successive Israeli regimes and their lust to make the Jews, Israelis — a nation of all of its peoples, Jews who know nothing of and are totally devoid of any form of Yiddishkeit and spirituality. Proof of this lacking is the public education system which has sooo failed to educate Israelis in their religious roots such that much of secular chayalim even have no knowledge of, and are unable to recite “Shema Yisrael.”
Rav Zelig Pliskin, in his sefer “Growth Through Torah” (pages 326-327) comments: “Beware of false conclusions from the facts you observe”, cites posukim from Parshat Shelach and provides commentary:
“The people who dwell in the land are extremely fierce and the cities are fortified and very great, and we also saw the children of Anak [giants] there…. We cannot go up to the people because they are stronger than us.” (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 13, posukim 28, 31)
The Akaidah explains that the report of the spies itself was appropriate. They were told to see the land and report back on the conditions of the land and the people who lived there. But their task was just to observe and relate what they saw. Their mistake was in rendering a decision that they should not attempt to enter the land. It was not up to them to come toany final conclusions, only to report the facts.
They were wrong about their not being able to conquer the land. The Almighty has the power to help against all odds. Just because in their minds they did not think it was possible for them to successfully take over the land of Israel did not mean that it was really not possible.
Among the secular, it’s a case where they have been so misguided by generations of governmental, leftist-defeatist-cancer-infected military establishment, media and intelligencia elitist mythical “dogma” indoctrination that, even being in close quarters in our small Medinat Yisrael, and having to interact with our various observant segments — sectors, they’ve been conditioned to abhor observance and thus seemingly lack the initiative — the mesirut nefesh to learn the truth. Add to that, the lack amongst most secular Jews to come to the aid of their Gush Katif brethren. And as with the observant sectors, inevitably there are many more such citations not mentioned here. Thus is the war for the Jewish heart and neshama — Jews vs Israelis.
And matters are not helped by certain rightist-activists who frequent Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount), the Ma’arat HaMachpela, etc. but who, in this author’s view, stumble down the slippery slope of being benign regarding a locality’s transportation of a public on Shabbos, stating: “each community will make its own decisions, and private companies can fulfill those needs” — leading to myriads of additional Halachic issues, thus acting hypocritically in full view of Hashem and of the nations, thus endangering, with their hypocrisy, our very sovereignty over our Jewish Holy Places which these activists embrace, and over the entirety of Eretz Yisrael.
“The Midrash Says,” by Rabbi Moshe Weissman (Sefer Bamidbar, Parsha Shelach, pages 162-163) discusses the corruption of the spies:
The twelve spies were dispatched on the 29th of Sivan, 2449.
Although they had been tzaddikim at the time of their appointment, they turned sour as soon as Moshe sent them out. They immediately decided to bring back a derogatory report so as to detain B’nai Yisrael.
What caused the Spies to become corrupted?
They said to each other, “Under Moshe’s leadership, we are heads of the people. As soon as we enter Eretz Yisrael, Yehoshua will become the leader. He will then appoint a different cabinet of ministers. Let us therefore detain the people in the wilderness to ensure that we shall not be demoted from our high positions.”
They spent the next 40 days planning how to make it plausible that Eretz Yisrael could not be conquered.
In a National Council of Young Israel Parshat HaShevua (June 24, 1995) on our Parsha, Rabbi Dr. Chaim Wakslak cites a preface written by Chasam Sofer in his books of Responsa:
It was because of their leadership positions, intense piety and their acclimation to a miraculous existence that they wanted to avoid the non-spiritual, non-miraculous, somewhat pedestrian existence that awaited them in Eretz Yisrael.
Rabbi Dr. Wakslak goes on to write:
Had the Miraglim… realized that it was incumbent upon B’nai Yisrael to move from a realm of the overtly miraculous that they had enjoyed until then, to the fulfillment of Mitzvot…, they might not have arrogantly decided to resist the Divine plan and B’nei Yisrael might have been spared the punishment that the sin of the Miraglim led to.
In essence, the spies provided the perfect “out”, the perfect rationale to sever the bond. As heads of the Sh’vatim, the 10 spies, with their ulterior motives: maintenance and perpetuation of their positions, station and empires, their perks and spoils, they covered and perpetuated their own kingdoms.
And so, true to the form which Rabbi Dr. Wakslak describes, the disunity, and apparent mutual jealousy and distrust within the religious sectors today, coupled with the leftist, elitist intelligencia scoffers whose distorted historical revisionism have fed efforts by successive Israeli governments who sought, seek to divide and conquer, maintain, consolidate and perpetuate their secular kingdom at the expense of the governed and at the expense of Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael as well as against the advent of a REAL Jewish leadership.
A Real Jewish leadership would be in nobody’s pocket, would not pander to certain sectors of the population for their votes by compromising Halacha, would owe no debts to today’s political hacks, would make no bargains with hacks who would throw any locality or segment of the governed “under the bus.” This Real Jewish Leadership would subserviant ONLY to Shemayim.
If today’s political/governmental leaders only realized and internalized the Eternal Incumbency of Shemayim, maybe they would realize that they need to step aside in favor of Real Torah-true Jewish leadership which epitomizes and reconnects the Jews with their Divine legacy: Eretz Yisrael. Or, if they at least realize that Hashem has been with us for 5777 years, for sixty-nine years of contemporary Medinat Yisrael, brought us victory in our wars of existence and would bring us ultimate victory if we would just act with emunah, rather than seeking third-party cover, protection and approval with the resultant strings attached which actually jeopardize our lives and security.
We long for the attributes of a Moshe Rabbeinu, of a real Jewish leadership, which by its very nature, recognizes the necessity of national unity and the continued building and in-gathering of the Jews to modern-day Israel. Such a leadership recognizes that success in Yishuv Eretz Yisrael, and in conflicts with enemies bent on our destruction are in the Hand of Hashem, but that the Yad Hashem depends on our unity and the labor, planning and efforts of our unity.
May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them and that the expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, at government expense; both due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. May our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of two and a half years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.