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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Shlach Lecha

PARSHAT SHLACH

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Those of us who had the privilege to be students of my revered Rebbe and Teacher, Harav Joseph B. Soloveitchik,ztl, are familiar with his brilliant analysis of our Parsha
"Shlach". The Rav traced the events beginning with Bahaalotcha and ending in Korach, which explain the sequence surrounding the story of the Meraglim. Needless to say it is impossible to present them in the short space allotted for this Dvar Torah. I therefore have chosen to present one point of the Rav’s discussion, which I believe is very relevant to our situation in Eretz Yisrael today.

The Rav ztl, asked why Hashem chose to command the Mitzvah of Challah after the events of the Meraglim. Would it not have been more appropriate to place this mitzvah together with the other tithes that Hashem commanded us to give - namely Trumot and Maasrot.

The difference between them is that while we plant and reap the fruits of the earth, the finished product is not up to us but to Hashem. Whereas in the case of challah , we take the raw materials with which Hashem endowed us and we produce the finished product. Trumot and Maasrot are a "Chovat Hakarka", a requirement of the growth, which Hashem produces. Challah is a requirement of the results of our own creation.

The Rav told the story from the Midrash which recounts the discussion between Turnus Rufus and Rabbi Akiva.Turnus Rufus asked Rabbi Akiva if Hashem detests the uncircumcised why did He not create man circumcised from birth. Rabbi Akiva answered him by asking him what is preferable, the grain or the cookie. Turnus Drufus replied that the product was more desireable. Rabbi Akiva then responded that we do not find cookies growing on trees. Hashem provides us with the raw materials and it is our responsibility to seize the opportunity to use these materials in order to create. So it is with circumcision.

The Mitzva of Challah teaches us that prosperity is earned based on our willingness to share the product of our efforts.

So it is with Eretz Yisrael. The meraglim failed to understand that the ‘Segulah " - "Uniqueness" of Eretz Yisrael should be united with the "Segulah" "Uniqueness"of
Am Yisrael. Moshe Rabeinu wanted the Meraglim to see the connection between Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael. It is only through this awareness that Eretz Yisrael becomes our Eretz Zavat Chalav U’Dvash. The effort that we put into creating a unique Eretz Yisrael will determine whether Eretz Yisrael becomes our land and heritage.
More on the topic of Shlach Lecha

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