Beit Midrash

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

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of

Asher Ben Haim

Parashat Shlach

Worry of Leaders


Rabbi Ari Katz

One of the most disturbing details of the horrible sin of the "Meraglim"- the spies, is the identity of the main transgressors. The Torah tells us that the "nesi'im", the leaders of the generation, were responsible for this terrible deed. What brought these great leaders to do something so terrible?

The Zohar explains that the leaders were afraid that they would lose their jobs once they entered Eretz Yisrael, and therefore they tried to prevent the people from entering. This is very difficult. These great individuals slandered Eretz Yisrael, because they were concerned about job security?!

The Rosh HaYeshiva of Kerem B'Yavneh, HaRav Chayim Yaakov Goldvicht, zatzal, gave the following explanation:
Am Yisrael's way of life in the desert was totally spiritual: manna from heaven, water from Miriam's well, the Clouds of Glory surrounding and protecting them - in essence, a life similar to Olam Haba.

That all was about to change upon their entrance into Eretz Yisrael. The manna would cease, they would have to start digging wells and planting food, and if they wanted protection, they would have to establish an army.

It was this transition that worried the leaders. This is what the Zohar means when it explains that they were afraid of losing their jobs. They knew that this new lifestyle would require a new type of leader. They didn't care about their own personal status. They were expressing their concern for the entire nation's wellbeing.

But God put us in this world, where our job is to live a "normal" life, and incorporate His Holiness into that life. The ideal place to accomplish that goal is in the Holy Land. When a tree is planted in Eretz Yisrael, various mitzvot pertaining to that tree help us make it holy. The army in Israel is God's army, protecting Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael. Through Torah and mitzvot, we are able to sanctify everything we do in this world.

The spies didn't see it this way, and therefore, acted as they did. Every generation must somehow correct the spies' mistake. This past year has been a very difficult year for Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael. We must stand up to the challenges and overcome the difficulties. Just as Yehoshua and Kalev didn't give up, but convinced the people otherwise, so must we follow in their footsteps.

May God give us the strength to spread the true message of Eretz Yisrael: "Aloh Na'aleh Ki Yachol Nuchal La."

This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
Aloh Na'aleh POB 4337, Jerusalem 91042
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