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Shlach 5762

Shlach (Numbers 13-15 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!  Recently I asked a young lady - who was dating for purposes of finding a spouse -what she was looking for in a husband. She replied, "A nice guy." Even if I wanted to choose a dog, I'd look for more than a good disposition. Is the dog house-broken? Did he have his shots? What's his pedigree? Is he healthy?

Who one marries is probably the most important decision a person will make in life. This is your companion, confidant, mother or father of your children - the person who will help you fulfill your potential and complement (and hopefully compliment, too!) you.

It is often hard for singles to meet high quality matrimonial prospects (of course, one can always try the local Aish HaTorah branch ... or However, I thought that it would be very helpful to share some questions so that you or someone you love can decide if that "nice guy" or "nice girl" is the one that he/she really should marry.

Here are some questions developed by my dear friend, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, that one should ask him/herself before deciding to marry someone. Please feel free to copy it and give to those about whom you care.


  1. What are my major reasons for wanting to marry this person?

  2. Why do I think that I will have a good marriage if I marry this person?

  3. What are my major expectations about this person after marriage? Is he or she aware of these expectations?

  4. How does my potential spouse view my role in marriage?

  5. Do I know this person's: (a) goals and aspirations, (b) main
    strengths, (c) main weaknesses?

  6. What do I like/dislike about this person?

  7. In what ways are we similar/different? What difficulties will be
    caused by differences?

  8. What is my ideal picture of the person I wish to marry? Is this
    person similar/different?

  9. What positive traits are most important in the person I marry? Does the person have/not have these traits?

  10. What negative traits would I not want in the person I marry? Does
    the person have them?

  11. Which of my negative traits is the person not aware of? What will the reaction be?

  12. Does the person accept the real me?

  13. Am I hoping this person will change in important areas after marriage? On what do I base this hope? If the person doesn't change, then what?

  14. In what ways do we think alike/differently?

  15. In what ways are our family backgrounds similar/different? What
    difficulties can arise?

  16. What faults & weaknesses in myself might be at the root of my
    wanting to marry this person?

  17. Do I have any inner feelings that I am likely making a mistake?

  18. Are there external pressures influencing my decision? Would I marry the person anyway?

  19. How does the person bring out my virtues and strengths/faults and

  20. Which reliable and unbiased people have I consulted or could I consult about this person?

Torah Portion of the Week

The Jewish people received the Torah on Mt. Sinai and were ready to enter the land of Israel. There was a consensus of opinion amongst the people that we should send spies to see if it was feasible to conquer the land. Moshe knew that the Almighty's promise to give the land included a guarantee to conquer it. However, one of the principles of life which we learn from this portion is: the Almighty allows each of us the free will to go in the direction he chooses. Even though one man and the Almighty is a majority, Moshe by Divine decree, sent out the princes of the tribes (men of the highest caliber) to spy out the land.

Twelve spies were sent. Ten came back with a report of strong fortifications and giants; they rallied the people against going up to the Land. Joshua ben Nun and Calev ben Yefunah (Moshe's brother-in-law) tried to stem the rebellion, but did not succeed. The Almighty decreed 40 years of wandering in the desert, one year for each day they spied in the land of Israel. This happened on the 9th of Av, a date noted throughout Jewish history for tragedy - the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Jews from Spain amongst them.


Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states, "And the Almighty spoke to Moshe, saying: Send for yourself men, that they may spy out the Land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Children of Israel; one man, one man of every tribe of their fathers you shall send, every one a prince among them" (Numbers 13:1,2). The Torah is not written in chronological order; there is meaning in the juxtaposition of one section to the next.

Rashi cites the Midrash Tanchuma for the reason why the section of the Torah dealing with sending the spies to the land of Canaan is next to the section of Miriam's speaking loshon hora (derogatory speech) about Moshe. Even though Miriam was publicly punished for speaking against her brother, these wicked people who witnessed her punishment did not learn a lesson.

A question arises: How could the spies be expected to learn from Miriam's loshon hora? Miriam spoke against a person, while they spoke against a land. Rabbi Yisroel Ordman, of Telshe Yeshiva in Lithuania, comments that one must acquire the attribute of always seeing the good in everything. A person who finds fault with things (meals, accommodations. etc.) will also find fault with people. Conversely, a person who always seeks to find the good in all phenomena will also see the good in his fellow man. That is the lesson the spies should have learned: to notice virtues rather than seek out faults.

As a pious man once note, "We were given two eyes - one very powerful for introspection, so we should find our smallest faults; the other very weak, for viewing others. Only too often we switch their functions."

(or go to

Jerusalem  7:09
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New York 8:01  Singapore  6:55


The price of greatness
is responsibility.
-- Winston Churchil

In Loving Memory of
Jules Abels
by Dr. & Mrs. Michael Abels


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