Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Shelach II

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This week’s Torah portion, Shelach, tells us the famous story about the twelve spies who Moshe Rabbeinu sent from the wilderness to the land of Israel. The Torah tells us that they brought back the extraordinary, enormous fruit from the land to show the Jewish people. Rashi explains that Yehoshua and Kaleiv returned empty-handed. Rashi explains that this was because[1] “the intention of the others (in bringing the fruit) was to present a slanderous report, (namely,) just as its fruit is extraordinary, so are its people extraordinary.”

We need to understand how Yehoshua and Kaleiv could disobey Moshe! Moshe Rabbeinu told all twelve spies[2], “You shall be courageous and take from the fruit of the land.” It would seem that by returning without fruit, they were disregarding Moshe’s words!

The spies’ mistake was in thinking that it was better to remain in the wilderness, performing Mitzvos with thought and speech, rather than entering Israel where they would be obligated to work with the physical world and perform physical Mitzvos. Our Sages teach us that action counts more than anything else. However, this can cause one to mistakenly believe that our thoughts and motives do not matter all that much. Rashi is coming to explain the devastating results that can come from harmful intentions and hidden motives. If this is the case with negative things, how much more is it true about positive things. The Torah teaches us that teaching that[3] “a Mitzvah performed without thought is like a body without a soul.” A soul can transform a body from life to “the opposite of life.” So too, can the proper intentions bring life to a Mitzvah.

We can accomplish this by studying the deeper aspects of the Torah, Chassidus, which is a sample of the deeper reasons of Mitzvos, which will be revealed with the coming of Moshiach.

Similarly, the obligation to believe in Moshiach and await his coming must come from the depths of one’s heart. This itself will hasten the true redemption and the fulfillment of the promise[4], ” I will remove the heart of stone from you, and will give you a heart of flesh,” speedily in our days.

I wish one and all a Good Shabbos and a healthy summer!

Rabbi Shmuel MendelsohnAdapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 38, Pages 48 ff.

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. See Rashi, Our Parshah, Bamidbar 13:23.

[2]. Our Parshah, Bamidbar 13:20.

[3]. See Tanya Chapter 38.

[4]. Yechezkel 36:26.

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