Parashat Shelach-Lecha

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Parasha for the Week:  Shelach-Lecha: Numbers 13:1 – 15:41
Haftarah:  Joshua 2
Besorat Yeshua:   Mark 4:35 – 5:8

Overview
Moshe sends 12 scouts, one from each tribe, to investigate Canaan.
They return 40 days later, carrying unusually large fruit.
10 of the 12 give a gloomy report of the prospect of defeating the Cannanites.
Calev and Yehoshua, the two scouts in favor of the invasion, try to bolster the people's spirit.
The nation decides that the land is not worth the risks, and instead demands a return to Egypt.
Moshe's fervent prayers save the nation from heavenly annihilation.

G-d declares that they must remain in the desert for 40 years until the faithless pass away.
A remorseful group rashly begins an invasion of the Land based on G-d's original command.
Moshe warns them not to go.  They ignore him and are massacred by the Canaanites.
G-d instructs Moshe concerning the offerings to be made when Bnei Yisrael enter the Land.
The people are commanded to remove challa, a gift for the kohanim, from their dough.
The laws for an offering after an inadvertent sin, for an individual or a group, are explained.
If someone blaspheme against G-d and be unrepentant, he will be cut off from his people.
A man gathering wood in violation of the laws of Shabbat is executed.
The laws of tzitzit are taught.

"Our Faith in G-d Tested"
Parshat Shlach-Lecha begins with the story of the "Meraglim" - the "spies" which Moshe sent to scout the land of Israel. Although G-d promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that He will give them the land of Israel, the people demanded that Moshe send spies to evaluate the land and report back. With G-d's permission, Moshe sent the spies to scout the land of Canaan.
The Torah states: "And the L-rd spoke to Moshe, saying, 'Send to you men that they may spy the land of Canaan which I give to the children of Israel..." Moshe chose twelve men — one from each tribe — to go forth and check out the promised land. Moshe instructed them, "...See the land what it is and the people that dwell there whether they are strong or weak, are they few or many. Is the land good or bad; what are the cities in which they dwell in... Is the land fat or lean..." Moshe instructs them to bring back of the fruits of the land.
Moshe chose pious and righteous men for this important mission. They came back after forty days, carrying huge pieces of fruit. Sadly, ten of the spies spoke negatively and discouraged the people from conquering the land. They said, "We will not be able to go up against the people for they are stronger than we". Only Joshua and Calev encouraged the people to have complete faith in G-d "for we will conquer the land." The Torah tells us that the children of Israel listened to the ten spies and "they wept that night," refusing to enter the promised land; "And all the congregation of Israel murmured against Moshe and Aaron and they said to them, 'We would have preferred to have died in the land of Egypt or in this wilderness. Why does G-d bring us into this land to fall by the sword... were it not better for us to return to Egypt..." As a result of this tragic event, the Jewish people remained in the desert for forty years (one year for each day the spies were in Israel).  Only their children eventually entered the land of Israel under Joshua's leadership.
Parshat Shlach-Lecha reminds us the importance of faith in G-d and the consequences for the lack of it. Our faith in G-d is put to a test continuously. During the course of a day, one is faced with situations where they may calculate that behaving contrary to G-d's will and moral standards will bring them success. Our faith in G-d may at times be tested to its limits. Yet, one must always remember that in the end it is G-d's will which will prevails.

"Are We Sure that We Report What is Real and Not Only What We See?"
The ten spies reported back to Israel, "The people who dwell in the land are extremely fierce and the cities are fortified and very great. We also saw the children of Anak (giants) there. We cannot go up to the people because they are stronger than us." The spies were sent to reconnoiter the land and bring back the report. What was their mistake? The report of the spies was appropriate. They observed and they related what they saw. Their mistake was drawing a conclusion and rendering the decision that they should not attempt to enter the Land. They did not take into account that the Almighty has the power to help against all odds.

Haftarah:  Joshua 2
Parasha: In the text of the parasha the Lord commanded Moses to send spies to the Land of Canaan: "And the L-rd spoke to Moshe, saying, 'Send to you men that they may spy the land of Canaan which I give to the children of Israel..." Moshe chose twelve men — one from each tribe (Num. 8:10-12).
Haftara: In our haftara it is Joshua who send spies to the Land of Canaan. "Then Joshua bin Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." (Joshua 2:1). Thirty eight years before the people of Israel were not ready to trust the L-rd, but now they are. They want to leave the wilderness and to taste this land of honey and milk. The Canaanites heard what the L-rd has done for Israel since they left the land of Egypt. They are afraid of them. Some of the Canaanites have faith in the G-d of Israel and are ready to help them.  Rahab, a prostitute of Jericho had faith. "So they went, and entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab." (Joshua 2:1). Rahab said to the spies, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. (Joshua. 2:9-10). She asks them to remember her and her family when they will come back. "Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the L-RD that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death." (Josh. 2:12-13) Rahab become an example of faith "By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace." (Heb. 11:31). She deserved to become one of the ancestors of King David and the Mashiach, Son of David. (Matt. 1:5)

Besorat Yeshua:  Mark 4:35 – 5:8
Parasha: In the parasha "Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, "Go up there into the Negev, and go up into the hill country," (Numbers 13:17).
Haftara: In Our haftara it is Joshua who sent spies to scout the Land of Canaan. "Then Joshua bin Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, "Go, view the land, especially Jericho." (Joshua 2:1)
Besorah: In our Besorah it is Yeshua who sent his disciples out. (Mark 4:35). In the parasha a storm of discourage¬ment fell on those who did not believe in G-d's promise that He will give them the land of Canaan and they died in the wilderness. In the Besorah the disciples faith is shaken. "A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" Yeshua "woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" (Mark 4:37-40). "They were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" (Mark 4:41).

 

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