We Report You Decide
This week’s Parasha of Shelach, again covers many subjects
but mainly starts with the first mention of explorers sent to report on the land of
Hashem here tells Moshe that it was not his intention and that if it is the wish of the
people then for you Moshe send explorers to “spy” on the land of Canaan and to
report on what’s going on in this promise land, the land of Israel.
Hashem asks Moshe to select the leading man from each of the twelve tribes as
explorers so that they travel and report to the people if indeed it is possible to conquer
this land or not. Also, to confirm as well if this land promised by Hashem to the
children of Israel is fertile and if what grows there is eatable or not.
So all explorers traveled around this land in forty days and they did a complete survey
of the land. On their way back they gather and took with them one bunch of grapes, a
fig and a pomegranate to show everyone how good it is.
Although reports and samples brought back by the explorers showed that food was
indeed abundant and good but sadly the explorers said as well that it would be
impossible to conquer the land. Asked for reasons, the explorers replied saying that
the cities are like fortresses and they are surrounded by high protective walls and
adding that: “inhabitants of those cities are giants and we are like grasshoppers
compared to them.”
As expected when the children of Israel heard the story they started to
cry out and complained to Moshe and Aaron by saying that they would rather go back
and be properly buried in Egypt than facing this obvious defeat against those
Canaanites and be buried in the middle of the desert.
Only two of the explorers, Kalev Ben Yefuneh and Yehoshua Bin Nun actually were
honest and said that it is not so and that they are not giants and we would have no
problem conquering the land from the Canaanites. Both of them begged the children
of Israel to be trusted and saying that the land is actually a land were milk and honey
flows abundantly. Saying as well that it is Hashem that rescued us from Egypt for this
exact purpose, so how can we not trust him?
So Hashem sees that the children of Israel are not convinced by those two explorers
and start believing that they would not be able to conquer the land, therefore Hashem
becomes angry, so Moshe prays to Hashem, what other nations will say if they see
that you have helped your chosen people to be rescued from Egyptian hands and to
end up in the middle of the desert? Moshe adding that what you Hashem had said
would be lies?
Hashem heard Moshes words so he decided that indeed the children of Israel will
succeed in entering the land but only the next generation and not the present
generation that had questioned and doubted him. Therefore it took forty years to reach
the land of Israel in relation to forty days it took to explore the land.
Only both explorers that did not doubt the words of Hashem will have the merit to
enter the land of Israel.
When the people of Israel heard that it will take forty years in
the desert to reach the Promised Land they turned to Moshe and started to regret their
words and hoped to reach with no delays the Promised Land. So Moshe replied that it
will not be necessary to enter into war with the Canaanites now and that it would be a
defeat because Hashem will not protect them. Seeing that there were no other options
and they had no choice to go along the chosen path that Hashem had set for them as
punishment for doubting his words.
In the end of this week’s Parasha, Hashem is giving to Moshe other laws regarding
sacrifices brought to the Temple. Hashem is saying that every time a sacrifice is
brought to the temple, it should be accompanied with flour. As well while making
bread a portion of the dough must always be removed and must not be eaten. (In our
days this portion called ‘chalah’ must be burned and not consumed)
Finally this weeks Parasha tells us about when wearing a garment which has four
corners it must be ended with “Ptilim” at its four corners. It is made with hundred
percent wool thin cords called ‘Tzitzit’. One of the four cords folded in two must be
of sky blue color to remind us of Hashem’s presence. As well this reminds us of his
presence on daily basis and helps us to stay away from wrong temptations.
Translated and adapted from various Talmudic sources by Elisha Ben Mordechai
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