Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Shlach Lecha
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated to the full recovery of

Asher Ishaayahu Ben Rivka

Parashat Shelach

What is seen?!


Rabbi James I. Gordon

Sivan 5763
This week’s Sidrah opens with the incident of the meraglim and closes with the mitzvah of tzitzit. The fact that the Sidrah is framed by these two parshiyot suggests that there may be some relationship between them. And indeed, when we examine the two parshiyot, we find a verbal similarity. The meraglim were sent "latur" - to scout or traverse the land (nowhere is the idea of spying mentioned in the Torah). The parashah of tzitzit instructs us: "Do not follow after (taturu) your heart and your eyes after which you go astray (zonim)." Here we learn the literal meaning of latur, for Targum Onkelos renders both taturu and zonim with a word derived from the same root - ta’ah - "to go astray."

Rashi refers to the heart and the eyes as spies for the body: "The eye sees, the heart desires, and the body commits the sins." The Torah, however, places the heart (i.e., the mind) first and then mentions the eye. This seems to reveal a profound psychological truth. We see what our minds condition us to see, or simply, we see what our thoughts make us see. The Rorschach test used by psychologists is based on this insight. Some nebulous shape attains a certain configuration because of the way we think. Our thoughts shape our observations.

Unfortunately, when considering ALIYAH, our thoughts are often focused on the negative aspects, no differently than in the days of the meraglim. The economic situation, intifada, adjustment difficulties etc. We must learn to emulate Calev - "aloh na’aleh veyarashnu otah," for with the help of the Almighty - "yakhol nukhal." WE CAN DO IT!

This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
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