According to Ramban, the sin of the spies comes down to one word: “ephess” (nevertheless). By adding this one word to their report, the spies signify something beyond their ability or capability. Their report was true, but they implied that conquest of the land would be impossible. The report denied and contradicted both the word and promise of God; an assurance that the Land of Israel would be the land of the Jewish people! They witnessed the Egyptian exodus, the manna, the protection of the clouds of glory; all of this should have been more than enough to convince the Jews that even with a negative report from the spies, they had God on their side. They should have had the faith to realize that no matter what the report was, they would be able to conquer the land and settle it.
In attempting to draw a parallel between the modern life of readers and the living, breathing Torah that was created to form a blueprint for a spiritually solid life, the writer of this article suggests that perhaps today’s Jews share the same lack of faith as those who stood at the foot of Har Sinai. The spies ‘toured’ the land, and many of us tour the land of Israel. We return home only to say that while it is a land flowing with milk and honey, we cannot settle there because of the hostile relationships with the Palestinians and the Arabs; we cannot overcome economic difficulties; we are too old, too poor, and too set in our ways.
Just as Bnei Yisroel witnessed the impossible exodus from Egypt, in our lifetimes we have witnessed the impossible exoduses from Ethiopia, Russia, Arab lands, and other obscure regions of the world. And in our lifetime, we have seen an ingathering of exiled brothers and sisters. Israel was promised to us; there is no reason for us to hold God’s “promise” at arm’s length.
From the Torah to Your Table
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his work, Growth through Torah, states: “When someone loses out himself in order to help someone else, that is the ultimate in love for one’s fellow man.
“A person who is not willing to make sacrifices for other people will always find reasons why it is too difficult for him to do acts of kindness for others. To help others takes time, energy and money. But when someone truly loves another person, he feels pleasure in all of the sacrifices he makes for him. The greater your love for someone, the more sacrifices you are willing to make. Therefore, the test of your level of love for your fellow man is the amount of sacrifices you are willing to make. A person who is not willing to make any sacrifices shows that he lacks love for others.
Discuss the idea that “love for others necessitates making sacrifices.”
A Final Word:
Remember the teaching of Ben Zoma: “Who is honored? He who honors others.” (Ethics of Our Fathers)
Candle Lighting Times and Torah Portions
Friday, June 4
Light candles at 7:40 p.m.
Saturday, June 5
Torah Portion: Shelah-Lekha (Numbers 13:1-15:41)
Friday, June 11
Light candles at 7:43 p.m.
Saturday, June 12
Torah Portion: Korah (Numbers 16:1-18:32)
Friday, June 18
Light candles at 7:46 p.m.
Saturday, June 19
Torah Portion: Hukkat (Numbers 19:1-22:1)
Friday, June 25
Light candles at 7:47 p.m.
Saturday, June 26
Torah Portion: Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9)