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Shlach 5766

Shlach (Numbers 13-15 )

by Kalman Packouz

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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 we choose. 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.

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Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And Calev stilled the people towards Moshe and said, 'We should certainly go up and possess the land for we are well able to take it.' "

There were two good spies - Calev and Joshua. Why did only Calev speak to the people and not Joshua?

The Arizal, a famous rabbi and mystic (kabbalist), explains that Joshua preferred that Calev speak to the people because he felt that if he spoke up, the people would respond, "You only want to enter the land because of your desire for power. You are only concerned about your own welfare. You want leadership for yourself. For us, it is not in our best interests to go to the land."

Our lesson: When we try to influence others to do something, it is important that they view what we say as being for their welfare. If someone we are trying to influence feels that we are motivated by self-interest, he will not heed us. In such a case, it is better to have an unbiased person speak to him.

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"Jealousy, lust and seeking honor
remove a person from this world."
-- Rabbi Elazar HaKappar

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Mazal Tov on
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Yaakov Shlomo Rosenbaum


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