This week, our Parshat HaShevua Sh’lach is being sponsored by Dr. Eli and Miri Behar of Ramat Beit Shemesh L’ilui Nishmas for the Yahrtzeit of Yerachmiel Meir ben Nissim Avraham. To the Behar family, many thanks for your sponsorship and continued kindness.
You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring (or as the case may be, co-sponsoring) a Parshat HaShevua.
Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.
Parshat Shelach 5775: Modern-Day Sequels to Distortions of the Miraglim, and the Ongoing War for the Jewish Soul in Eretz Yisrael
by Moshe Burt
Our Parsha Shelach, and the affair of the miraglim — the spies, annually brings to mind the evolution of the Israeli media, academia, political, governmental scene which has brought us to the state of affairs we are facing and continue to face today. This state of affairs includes the Nation facing continuing threats of tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of rockets aimed at all parts of Israel by both Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, continued governmental tolerance or indifference to Arab attacks upon Jews — near the Kotel, throughout Jerusalem and throughout Yehuda and the Shomron, as well as the prohibition of Jews, even MKs, from praying at Har HaBayit (The Temple Mount), of alleged police framing of Jews regarding alleged violence and damage in so-called “Arab areas.” Lest we forget the thousands of Hamas/PLO rockets which rained down upon southern Israel during the series of conflicts in Gaza since the expulsion of our Jewish brethren from Gush Katif. And we watch as an equivocal prime minister and government speak strong words against a “two-state solution”, only to eat those very words mere days or hours later. These all show clearly that the politicians, the elitist intelligencia, and many of the masses still have not learned and internalized the lessons which should have been gleaned after Jew expelled Jew from Gush Katif, and historically, the lessons of the actions of the 10 corrupt spies.
Israel National News recently posted an Op-Ed piece well worth reading in tandem with this Parshat HaShevua — Analysis: The Woman Who Brought Israel Under Hezbollah Threat about how, in the late 1990s, Israel’s media distorted their reporting of events on Israel’s border with Lebanon, misleading Israel’s public opinion in order to orchestrate and lay the groundwork which eventually led, under the government of then-prime minister Ehud Barak, to the May, 2000 withdrawal of the IDF from their security belt in Lebanon. This IDF withdrawal is said to have ultimately brought Hezbollah military and political dominance in Lebanon which has led to 100,000 rockets aimed at all of Israel. Some or many of these rockets could be armed with chemical warheads. This Op-Ed provides much insight as to the consequences of the bourgeoning influence of today’s misguided spies, the leftist media, intelligencia, academia and entrenched leftist influence in Israel’s political institutions.
And then there is the leftist’s darling, champion, chief manipulator, and modern-day distorted spy and a former Israel president who recently proclaimed, “There is a clear majority in Israel for ‘Two-State Solution’”.
Thus, it seems that we continue experiencing a prolonged internal war for the soul of Am Yisrael reminiscent of events surrounding the Divinely-sanctioned directive by Moshe to send spies (miraglim) into Eretz Yisrael. Just as Am Yisrael cried needless, bitter tears in our Parshat Shelach, modern-day Israelis, many seemingly devoid of Emunah in The Almighty as they are bombarded with leftist endoctrinations and brainwashings, and lies and distortions framed as “facts”, throw their hands up in misguided fear, as if latter-day grasshoppers, bitterly proclaiming; “ein ma’alah sot, ein ma’alah sot.” One can only wonder whether the current nationalist Justice Minister, Deputy Foreign Minister and Education Minister will carry any clout whatsoever in a government barely a majority and where its prime minister seemingly is waiting on a so-called “national unity” coalition.
Each year, as we reach Parshat Shelach, this author’s memories harken back to one Yom Nora’im (High Holidays) the late-1980s in Philadelphia, in the years just prior to becoming Ba’al Teshuva, and when the seeds of “Shalom Achshav” — “Peace Now” (sic) were being tended by the nascent Israeli/Jewish left.
The conservative synagogue attended for Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur had a practice of bringing in a young JTS (Jewish Theological Seminary) guest rabbi to help and assist the synagogue’s long-time Rabbi who was getting on in years. This particular Yomim Tovim, they brought in a young fellow who proceeded to pitch the philosophies of Breira, one of the leftist-agendized predecessors of Shalom Achshav.
These were years before “Shalom Achshav” emerged and succeeded in snowing and propagandizing hundreds of thousands of Israelis while sprouting, with the help of European NGOs, numerous different heads and tentacles which connected with leftist, Arabist, anti-semitic funding sources. And so this young conservative “traditional (sic)” rabbi-to-be proceeded to turn the Torah’s account of the Miraglim (the spies) on its head. He portrayed the evolution of leftist “ideology”; from Breira, to the Progressives, to “Shalom Achshav”: of “land for peace (sic)” as a worthy sequel to Yehoshua and Caleiv, who took their lives in their hands to defend Hashem and who urged the people on into Eretz Yisrael.
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, in his sefer “Growth Through Torah” (Page 325-326) cites mussar Rabbi A.M. Shimanowitz, who would cite Rashi on Bamidbar Perek 13, posuk 27:
“And they told him, and they said, we came to the land where You sent us, and it is flowing with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.”
“Rashi cites the Sages on this verse that, ‘Every falsehood that does not start with some truth will not last.’ Unfortunately, today there are many people who mistakenly feel that every truth that is not mixed with some falsehood will not last.” (Chayai Hamussar, vol. 1, page 71)
So, of course this young “Rabbi” wannabe took the truth of Yehoshua and Caleiv: “the Land is good” and turned it upside-down, inside-out and sideways spinning and manipulating it to suit his leftist ideological agenda, just as the other 10 spies used a little bit of truth about the Land and the display of its fruit to further their agenda.
This wet-behind-the-ears so-called rabbi attempted to gain new adherents to the “land-for-peace(sic)” cause by portraying himself and other Breira, Progressive, Shalom Achshav, Noam Chomsky-types as if like Yehoshua and Caleiv — the minority speaking truth about the Land and, as if life-endangered, “poor, misunderstood” under-dogs when in fact they were the early version of what would later become a full-blown, well-oiled, mega-funded post-zionist Trojan Horse propaganda machine which would team up with the Arab enemy, the EU and leftists worldwide while steam-rolling and endoctrinating Israel’s secular masses — the so-called (by Israelis re: post Six-Day War Youth) “golden youth” and their succeeding generations whose Jewishness and Torah rooting was anything but solid.
These leftist, elitists — these scoffers are the latter day sequels of the complainers about whom Yehuda Nachshoni (Studies in the Weekly Parsha — Behaaloscha, page 991) cites Akeidah as indicating that:
“They desire to be free of any ethical or spiritual bonds.”
Nachshoni goes on to indicate (Studies in the Weekly Parsha — Behaaloscha, page 991):
This is what Chazal mean when they interpret the word “free” as free from Mitzvot (Sifre). With their exodus from Egypt they had become physically free, but their souls took on Hashem as their master. Now they wished to sever that bond. That is why the Holy One says: “You have abhorred Hashem, Who is in your midst, and you have wept before Him saying: Why did we leave Egypt” (Bamidbar, Perek 11, posuk 20). They did not explicitly say this, but the Holy One, Who knows man’s secret thoughts, knew that they wished to throw off the yoke of Heaven, but masked this with the complaints.
And so, the 10 of the 12 miraglim, seemingly selfish to perpetuate and maintain their little empires, seemingly preyed upon the weakness and vulnerability of the masses of Am Yisrael.
As a result of this ever-growing, corrosive leftist influence, we see a trend and evolution which has progressed toward such abominations amongst the Am, as the new “civil rights movement” — equality for and evolvement toward state sanction and sponsorship of same-gender relationships and “marriages” and attempted enticements, subversions and coercions by others to bring the state to hand sovereignty over Jewish Holy Places to other religions, i.e. Vatican’s ambitions to acquire King David’s tomb (click here as well).
This young conservative rabbi-wannabe counted on the abject ignorance of American Jews to their history, to their heritage and even to events of contemporary modern days, such as the Entebbe rescue, as well as an ever-declining attention span, as the means of gaining gullible adherents by default. These were the predecessors of Oslo who blazed their way toward the phenomena of Jew expelling Jew, attempted implementation of “Road Maps” and of leaders being “too tired to fight, too tired to win.”.
“The Midrash Says,” by Rabbi Moshe Weissman (Sefer Bamidbar, Parsha Shelach, pages 162-163) discusses the corruption of the spies:
The twelve spies were dispatched on the 29th of Sivan, 2449.
Although they had been tzaddikim at the time of their appointment, they turned sour as soon as Moshe sent them out. They immediately decided to bring back a derogatory report so as to detain B’nai Yisrael.
What caused the Spies to become corrupted?
They said to each other, “Under Moshe’s leadership, we are heads of the people. As soon as we enter Eretz Yisrael, Yehoshua will become the leader. He will then appoint a different cabinet of ministers. Let us therefore detain the people in the wilderness to ensure that we shall not be demoted from our high positions.”
They spent the next 40 days planning how to make it plausible that Eretz Yisrael could not be conquered.
In a National Council of Young Israel Parshat HaShevua (June 24, 1995) on our Parsha, Rabbi Dr. Chaim Wakslak cites a preface written by Chasam Sofer in his books of Responsa:
It was because of their leadership positions, intense piety and their acclimation to a miraculous existence that they wanted to avoid the non-spiritual, non-miraculous, somewhat pedestrian existence that awaited them in Eretz Yisrael.
Rabbi Dr. Wakslak goes on to write:
Had the Miraglim… realized that it was incumbent upon B’nai Yisrael to move from a realm of the overtly miraculous that they had enjoyed until then, to the fulfillment of Mitzvot…, they might not have arrogantly decided to resist the Divine plan and B’nei Yisrael might have been spared the punishment that the sin of the Miraglim led to.
In essence, the spies provided the perfect “out”, the perfect rationale to sever the bond. As heads of the Sh’vatim, the 10 spies, with their ulterior motives: maintainance and perpetuation of their positions, station and empires, their perks and spoils, they covered and perpetuated their own kingdoms.
And so, true to the form which both Nachshoni and Rabbi Dr. Wakslak describe, the disunity, and apparent mutual jealousy and distrust within the religious sectors today, coupled with the leftist, elitist intelligencia scoffers whose distorted historical revisionism have fed efforts by successive Israeli governments who sought, seek to divide and conquer, maintain, consolidate and perpetuate their secular kingdom at the expense of the governed and at the expense of Jewish sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael as well as against the advent of a REAL Jewish leadership. Such a Real Jewish leadership would be in nobody’s pocket, would owe no debts to today’s political hacks, would make no bargains with hacks who would throw any locality or segment of the governed “under the bus.” This Real Jewish Leadership would subserviant ONLY to Shemayim.
If today’s political/governmental leaders only realized and internalized the Eternal Incumbency of Shemayim, maybe they would realize that they need to step aside in favor of Real Torah-true Jewish leadership which reconnects the Jews with their Divine legacy: Eretz Yisrael..
We live in contemporary times where the earliest vestiges of disunity and disdain for one’s fellow Jews and for our Eretz HaKiddusha, as well as a total absence of emunah in Hashem, manifested itself in propaganda displays, such as the convoluted logic of the JTS student noted above. This disdain and disunity has evolved into engrained, morally corrupt historical revisionist institutions and media which have lost grasp of who they are and why they or we are here in the first place. But we, the masses don’t have to accept, support and rally around these contemporary false miraglim, be they so-called “journalists” or a former President of Israel, who defame OUR Divine legacy — Eretz Yisrael while endoctrinating and brain-washing successive generations. We must not support a hack “political beltway” whose mindset and actions have their roots in those false miraglim of Bamidbar, and who like them, fear for their modern-day secular empires — empires which would be lost for all time in an Authentic Jewish Torah-based governance, and for their political perks and spoils above all else.
We long for the attributes of a Moshe Rabbeinu, of a real Jewish leadership, which by its very nature, recognizes the necessity of national unity and the continued building and ingathering of the Jews to modern-day Israel. Such a leadership recognizes that success in Yishuv Eretz Yisrael, and in conflicts with enemies bent on our destruction are in the Hand of Hashem, but that the Yad Hashem depends on our unity and the labor, planning and efforts of our unity.
May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brethren Jonathan Pollard and Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.