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 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.
This author has indicated over the years that Parshiyot Hashavua are generally compiled three of four weeks of more before the Shabbos of the Parsha. And so, our Parshat Shelach is compiled against the backdrop of the recent terror events, including the attack in the town of Elad during which three Jews were brutally murdered.
In previous vorts on Parshat Shelach, this author discussed the errant protocol of the miraglim, and the bogus modern-day parallels to the miraglim’s false conclusions and the ongoing battle for the collective soul of Am Yisrael.
This vort on our Parsha deals with the possible agenda(s) behind the miraglims’ (spies) testimony given before the people, ignoring command protocol which would have had them report directly to Moshe and Aaron for debriefing.
We open with an excerpt from Rabbi Goldin’s summary of our Parshat Shelach in his sefer, “Unlocking The Torah Text” on Sefer Bamidbar ( page 117):
Upon their return, the spies [miraglim], with the exception of Calev ben Yefuneh and Yehoshua ben Nun, offer discouraging testimony concerning [their opinion of] the nation’s inability to conquer the inhabitants of Canaan. In despair, and ignoring the counterarguments of Calev and Yehoshua, the nation rises in rebellion against Hashem, Moshe and Aaron.
The populous of the nation had already rebelled numerous times against Hashem as Torah related in last week’s Parshat Beha’alotcha.
So we find that the stage was already set, due to the peoples’ rebellions, prior to the episode of the miraglim.
Our Parshat Shelach opens:
“Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying, ‘Send forth for yourself men, and let them spy out the Land of Canaan that I give to the B’nei Yisrael…” (Perek 13, posukim 1-2 as rendered to English in “The Sapirstein Edition — The Torah with Rashi’s Commentary” on Sefer Bamidbar)
Rashi comments on the above posukim:
“Send forth for yourself” — by your discretion. I do not command you to do so: if you wish, send forth. “For yourself” implies that Hashem was not ordering Moshe to send forth the spies, but rather, was leaving the decision to him [Moshe] (Rashi citing Devek Tov) Since Israel came and said — “Let us send men ahead of us,” as it says — “All of you approached me [and said, ‘Let us send men ahead of us’]. etc. and Moshe consulted the Shechinah. Hashem said, “I told them that [the Land] is good, as it says, — ‘I shall bring you up from the affliction of Egypt, etc.’ I swear by their lives that I give them room to err — through the words of the spies — so that they shall not take possession of it.” This explains why Hashem agreed to sending the spies although He did not order it. Hashem wished to give the B’nei Yisrael the option of sending the spies, and sinning through them, because they showed a lack of faith by suggesting that they be sent. (ibid, Rashi cites Tanhuma 5 and Sotah 34b and Devek Tov)
Just as the self-interest of the miraglim seemed an outgrowth of the disunity, lack of emunah in, and rebellion against Hashem, could it be that today, the divisiveness and egotistical self-interests of Israel’s current governance which seeks to rule at all costs, even at the cost of an alien, hostile sector dictating governance — from the police, to the politicians, to the ministerial bureaucracies, and the supreme court? Could Israel’s current governmental malaise similarly be the outgrowth of the disunity and discord among the various sectors of the populous?
Is that the Divine message behind the pleas of our Rabbanim for Ahavat Chinom?
In a recent article published in Hebrew in Yedioth Ahronoth, Jonathan Pollard states; “I Can No Longer Be Silent” which has been translated to English and published on Facebook. Hat tip to Aviva Adler. Below are pertinent excerpts from this profound message:
In a special article in Yedioth Ahronoth following the wave of terror, Jonathan Pollard writes: “I know very well what a prison designed to take out a prisoner’s desire to live looks like. But here the conditions of imprisonment only encourage the next terrorists to join the club”
I see the faces of the terrorists who were caught after committing the horrific massacre in Elad and see very well that they are not afraid of prison – they know that they are facing conditions that are several times more upgraded than any criminal prisoner, a huge salary from the Palestinian Authority.
Oh, I know very well what a prison designed to take out of the prisoner the desire to live looks [like] … but here the conditions of incarceration of these heinous murderers only encourage the next terrorists to join the club. How can such a hallucinatory situation be allowed to last even one more moment?
I’m tired of it. I’m tired of seeing those who are supposed to lead us, take our flag and erase the blue from it and leave it as a white flag of surrender.
I’m waiting for someone, for the leader. A true Jewish leader, who will step forward and return the blue stripes and the Star of David to our flag.
I am waiting for a leader who will put fear of God into the hearts of our enemies.
I see time and time again how my brothers and sisters, are forced to defend themselves and those around them, not only from the enemy but from our government[s.] Who is too scared to do what it takes to eradicate the terrorist threat. This state of affairs is completely incomplete!
We must get rid of the exile mentality that dictates the need to “understand” our enemies over the security of our people. We just can not think like the spies who threw at others what they felt towards themselves – “and be in our eyes like grasshoppers”. I am not a grasshopper and neither are my brothers and sisters in this country grasshoppers.
We are the descendants of proud and noble warriors who feared only God and never hesitated to defend our country from some of the greatest empires the world has ever seen. For many years, our leaders have continually tried to make us forget this fact in favor of adopting a more liberal and postmodern conception. In which we “share” our land with those who openly seek to destroy us. Enough! We must reject this cynical defeatism before it kills us.
It is time to regain our personal and collective self-respect. It is time for our nation to demand that our leaders care more about us than about foreign masters.
It is time for our representatives to work seriously to defeat those organizations and countries that are working to eliminate us.
At the very least, we want the Army High Command to wake up and stop pretending that “managing the conflict” is a strategic doctrine that can be accepted. This is not. It is a kind of “reconciliation” that protects our enemies while making us look weak and stupid.
I know we can enact these essential reforms.. If we actually want to be an independent country, we have no other choice. Indeed, these goals should be seen as sacred obligations we must embrace not only for our sake, but also for the sake of our future generations. May G-D grant us the wisdom and strength to do so.”
Rabbi Goldin concludes (ibid, page 141):
Judaism’s overall attitude towards exploration of the physical world: For while the Torah warns, “you shall not explore after your heart and your eyes after which you stray,” investigation of our physical surroundings is not only generally permitted by most halachic authorities, but encouraged, No less a luminary than the Rambam maintains:
“And what is the path that will lead to the fear and love [of Hashem]? At the moment when an individual considers His wondrous and great creations and works and perceives within them His matchless and infinite wisdom, he immediately loves, praises, glorifies Him and is seized with an overwhelming desire to know His great name.” (Rabbi Goldin citing Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 2:2)
Such exploration becomes hazardous, however, when we forget the basic assumptions that are meant to guide our journey. Like the spies sent by Moshe on a legitimate mission to explore Cana’an, we stumble off course in our own “explorations” when we lose sight of Hashem’s presence in our lives and when we despair of our own self worth.
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, that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Homesh be rebuilt, all at total government expense; due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now free of his parole and restrictions and that he is now in his second year at home in Eretz Yisrael. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her memory continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of seven 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. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese corona virus pandemic and all like viruses. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei 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.