Shlach 2005

by | May 20, 2007 | 0 comments

It is very simple. G-d gave us a gift and we snubbed it.

What you have been searching for all your life may be right in front of you, but you won?t see it unless G-d opens your eyes.

You can be standing in front of your soul mate for 100 years and unless G-d opens your eyes you are still looking in every direction but straight…. it is possible to stand next to the person who loves you the most and you won?t even know it.

Rabbi Binyamin said, everyone is blind until G-d opens their eyes.” (Medrash B?R 53;19)

The episode of the spies was the most tragic episode in Jewish history. G-d forgave us for the Golden Calf, he took care of Korach, but those spies are plaguing us until today. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and again by the Romans along with the tragedies that afflict us century after century all trace back to that night when all of Israel cried. Tisha B?Av.

The story of the spies is not complicated or mystical. One does not have to be a Navi, a kabbalist or even a Talmid Chacham to understand what made G-d so angry. It is very simple. G-d gave us a gift and we snubbed it.

Dovid HaMelech put it succinctly: Vayimosu beretz Chemda (Tehilim 106;24) ?They repulsed the cherished Land?. The Medrash Rabbah explains; sometimes you?ll meet a beautiful human being with very ugly clothing. Sometimes you will find an ugly person with very beautiful clothing. The people of Israel are beautiful and G-d searched the globe to find the most beautiful and well fitting land. Eretz Yisroel.? (Rabba 23)

We were so blinded that we misinterpreted everything. We turned G-d?s blessing into a curse. We said: ?It is a land flowing with milk and honey, there are beautiful fruit in the land, and the people are giants! So even if we surround them and cut off their supplies they can be self sufficient and we will lose!?

The Malbim points out that if this happened once in history it may have been an anomaly. The problem is that we keep on repeating the same behavior. This is how the Talmud interprets ret the verse in Eicha ?dimasa al lechiya? the tear of Jerusalem is still on it?s cheek. We are still repeating the sin of the spies. Even during the time of Ezra where the destruction of the first Temple was still fresh on our minds we chose Babylon, ?because we are comfortable living in Bavel and Aliyah to Israel means poverty, hard labor and fear.? (Rashi Kidushin 69b). They turned a miraculous blessing into a curse.

The Sm?a writes that the Jewish community of Worms was especially affected by the pogroms in Europe. He explains that their community is very old ??” still from the Babylonian exile and during the time of Ezra the elders of Jerusalem wrote to them encouraging them to come home. They responded in a letter, ?You keep the large Yerushalayim and we will keep the small one.?

At this difficult juncture in history, I would like to suggest two simple yet profound spiritual exercises. On a national level, once again G-d has given us a special gift Eretz Yisroel. This is a blessing of historical proportion. Visit it support it, dream about it and be careful what you say about it.

On a personal level, we must be sure not to fall into the Meraglim trap. Recognize the blessings that surround us. Our families, our homes, our jobs, our community, our country – they are all gifts from G-d The more we appreciate them the more we receive.

By Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Rabbi Yaacov Haber has been a leading force in Jewish community and Jewish education for over forty years. He lived and taught in the United States, Australia and in Israel. He is presently the Rav of Kehillas Shivtei Yeshurun, a vibrant community in the center of Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel, and serves as the Rabbinic guide to many of its wonderful organisations.


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