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Home » Sh'lach L'chah

Shlach: Food for Thought for your Dinner Table

Submitted by on June 15, 2008 – 11:06 amNo Comment | 2,140 views

Sunday: Why Joshua

Moshe prayed that Yehoshua be spared from the designs of the other spies. Why did Moshe only pray for Yehoshua and not the others? Some suggest that it was because Yehoshua was Moshe’s primary pupil and his failure would reflect negatively on his teacher.

Others suggest that this is because Yehoshua had previously led the Jewish army in defeat of the Amalekites. Concerned, that the fearsome Amalekites would intimidate the spies, Moshe prayed that Yehoshua, who had previous experience with Amalek, would convince his ten colleagues (Calev required no prayer) that there was no cause for fear. This explains why Moshe added the letter Yud to Yehoshua’s name. The Yud has a numerological value of ten, the number of spies over which Moshe prayed that Yehoshua prevail. Orach Chayim / Kli Yakar

Monday: He Let Them Go

Why did Moshe allow the spies to go on their mission? Would it not have been better that the Jews accept G-d’s promise about the Land of Israel at face value?

It is not sufficient to perform the Mitzvot out of faith, it is necessary to experience the beauty of the Mitzvah intellectually and emotionally. Moshe knew that Israel was geographically, chronologically and therefore psychologically far away; it did not excite the imagination of a nation in the desert. He agreed to send the spies in the hope that their real-life report about how the war might be conducted would galvanize the nation by allowing them to understand and feel the imminence of G-d’s promise. Likutei Sichos

Tuesday: Calev’s Response

After the spies delivered their negative report about Israel Calev stepped up to the podium and “silenced the nation to Moshe.” What did he say? He explained that the reason for sending the spies was to collect information that would help Moshe determine the best strategy for conquering the country. Only Moshe, the commander in chief, required this information, the spies should never have made their report in public and thus alarmed the nation. It is common for citizens, unschooled in the ways of war and their military’s capaacity, to be alarmed when they discover the true extent of the danger. Generals, however, are accustomed to receiving such information and know how to respond.

“Calev silenced the nation” and told them that this report was really not for them, it should have been reported directly “to Moshe.” This was said in indirect rebuke of his colleagues who delivered their report to the entire nation. Ksav Sofer

Wednesday: Where they went Wrong

On a deeper level: The spies did not only err in delivering their report to the nation (see Tuesday’s entry) they misunderstood the very nature of their mission. Their mission was to collect information that would enable Moshe to determine the correct battle plan (see Ramban). It was not their mission to determine whether or not the attack could succeed. Here they erred. They should have made their report and dismissed their misgivings in full trust that G-d would deliver victory despite the odds. Likutei Sichos

Thursday: Slander

Gossip and especially slander of others is a most grievous sin, comparable to idolatry, adultery and murder combined! We are aware that the Torah forbids slander of Israel, the people, but in this Parshah we learn that the Torah forbids slander of Israel, the land. In describing the terrible punishment that befell the spies the Torah referred to their negative report as a slander of the land. It is important to realize that just as it is forbidden to speak out against G-d’s people so is it forbidden to speak out against G-d’s land. Those who did so in the past were punished with forty years of wandering in the desert (thirty eight years, in addition the two years they had already spent in the desert) and, in the end, were not permitted to enter the Holy Land.

The easiest way to guard against slander is to emphasize the mitzvah of Ahavat Yisrael. Love of Israel, the people and the land. Chafetz Chayim

Friday: Education

“From the first of your dough you should give a Terumah (offering).” Our sages interpret this verse in the context of education. The Hebrew word for dough, “Arisoseichem,” also means cradle. From the moment a child enters, let alone leaves, the cradle s/he must be devoted to Terumah. The Hebrew letters of the world Terumah comprise the word Torah with the added letter Mem, referring to the forty (Mem) days Torah during which Moshe received the Torah at Sinai. Toras Moshe – Chassam Sofer

Shabbat: Never Say Never

There are those who complain that they are unable to take on a new mitzvah or study habit because they were not raised that way. These psychological impediments to growth are the spiritual products of Mitzrayim, which means limitations. G-d freed us from Mitzrayim and He did so for the purpose of becoming our L-rd. Every time our inner voice of temptation tells us that we are incapable of turning over a new leaf we must counter that voice with a message of our own. It is the message of the closing verse of our Parshah. “I am G-d your lord who has taken you out of Mitzrayim (limitations) for the purpose of becoming your L-rd.” Likutei Torah

Edited by Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort, Director of Chabad at La Costa