Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Shlach

We Will Go Up

The disaster that befell the Jewish people in the desert and that doomed the generation that had left Egypt and stood at Sinai had many causes. But to me, the most blatant cause was that Moshe somehow picked the wrong men to be the spies that would report on the Land of Israel. They were, in the words of the Torah and Rashi's commentary to those words, great men, leaders of Israel, people of piety and belief. Moshe was supremely confident that they would be enthusiastic about the blessings of living in the land of Israel. Yet, with the exceptions of Calev and Yehoshua, these leaders got the facts right and the conclusions all wrong.

The rabbis of the Midrash indicate that they had a personal agenda that drove them, perhaps existing even only subconsciously within them - that they were afraid of losing their leadership roles to younger people of the next generation when the Jews would enter the Land of Israel. But I feel that one can see a deeper reason and psychological insight as well. The Land of Israel has always been a difficult test for Jews. It is much easier to deal with an imaginary place - a Holy Land - where everything will be perfect and satisfying than to be forced to contend with a real place where life is far from perfect and where ideals are difficult to realize. The spies were disappointed in what they saw, in the reality of the land as compared to their imaginary perfect home and this disparity depressed them and colored their report to the rest of their compatriots. The Jerusalem on this earth never quite matches up with the heavenly Jerusalem of our dreams. And the inability to deal with this truth became a main cause of tragedy for the ten spies and for those who believed in them.

Calev and Yehoshua were not discouraged by the reality of the land as they saw it. They said: "aloh naaleh" - we will go up, we will improve the situation, and we will not forsake our dreams and ideals because of the difficulties that the land poses. We will make it better and be able to succeed. Living in Israel as I do, I often hear, especially from those Jews who still reside in the Diaspora - many of them pious, observant, fine people, comments about the imperfections of our state and of its populace. It almost seems to serve as an excuse to remain in the desert and not to come to Israel because of the difficulties involved. I make no excuses for the failings in Israeli life, be they religious, educational, social or economic. Nevertheless, one need only look at the achievements that have been wrought here over the past century of Jewish life in order to be heartened.

The Land of Israel poses now, as it always has, a severe test of Jewish faith, loyalty and commitment. What is necessary is for all of us to possess the optimism and fortitude of Calev and Yehoshua in viewing the Land of Israel and the Jewish community residing therein. We will certainly go up, we will improve, and we will strive to fulfill our goal and ideal of being a special people living in a special land. In so doing, we will realize the goal of a holy people residing in a holy land.

Good Shabbos.
Rabbi Berel Wein


Text Copyright 2004 by Rabbi Berel Wein and T orah.org


 






ARTICLES ON SHOFTIM AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Shofar: The Court Summons
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

You'll be the Judge of That
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Judging Essences
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Costly Yud
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Express Yourself
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

A Lifelong Battle
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Rosh Hashana and the Kiss of Life
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Appointing An Unworthy Judge = Planting An Ashera: Why?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

The Measure of A Person Is His Sense of Gratitude
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5769

ArtScroll

Shofar: Shock Treatment
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5767

The Road to Malchus
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Who We Really Are
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

> The Double Language: Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Shudder or Blind?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Branches Of The Judiciary
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Knock, Knock!
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information