July 23, 2024
Parshat Shelach 5784

When you Choose Shabbat, you choose to learn that every Shabbat is different and special. Last week I learned about Parashat Shelach (שְׁלַח‎), the 37th weekly Torah portion in the annual cycle of Torah readings.

According to Wikipedia, Shelach (שְׁלַח‎), Numbers 13:1 to 15:41, contains 5,820 Hebrew letters, 1,540 words, 119 verses and makes up 198 lines of the Torah scroll. The parashah tells the tale of the twelve spies sent to assess the promised land, commandments about offerings, the story of the “Sabbath violator” and the commandment of the fringes (צִיצִת‎, tzitzit).

Rabbi Michael D Klein of Temple Torat Emet offers his insights on this week’s Torah reading, Shelach for Shabbat, June 29, 2024 aka 23 Sivan 5784:

“This week’s Sedra emphasizes a quotation from elsewhere in the Torah. In Sedra Mishpatim, it states, “Do not accept a false report …..do not be a follower of the majority rule to do evil” (Exodus 23:1-2). Moses errs by permitting tribal chieftains to spy out the Land of Israel along with Caleb and Joshua. The spies have heard the promises of a Land flowing with Milk and Honey, but they and their followers have a lapse of faith and insist on seeing with their own eyes. They return with amazing fruits harvested from the land, but also bring back stories of future adversaries who are the current occupants of the Land. They describe them as giants who, due to their lack of faith, made them feel as insignificant as grasshoppers. Caleb and Joshua object to this negative report but are overtaken by those who wish to believe only that G-d has forsaken them and a tremendous rebellion ensues which results in the death of the spies and the death of many of the population.

A relevant question is, “Why, are the people who are led to rebel, unable or unwilling to accept the promises of G-d, given the miraculous events which have occurred until now? Is this a lesson also for these times, when people follow false reports on Facebook, Instagram, and yYou-Tube which represent only opinion and influencers and not reality? Why do people tend to believe conspiracy theories instead of facts and negative falsehoods represented as truth by individuals calling themselves influencers?

Witness, those who march in support of terrorists, rapists, and murderers. The majority have no clue why they’re marching and haven’t the foggiest notion of the reality of living in Israel and the plurality and freedom in Israeli society. If these same people tried even for one second to protest in Iran or Gaza they would receive immediate death. It is our job to speak the truth and use our faith in Hashem to support freedom and truth and not follow the majority especially when they are led by evil and ignorant masses who don’t acknowledge or care about reality or truth. Let us, like Joshua and Caleb, encourage our fellow citizens, to find and support the truth and overcome the tide of ignorance and lies. The future of freedom depends on our words and deeds!

Questions to Consider:

  1. Why do the spies use the imagery of giants and grasshoppers to represent the difficulties in future battles?
  2. What punishment is decreed for those who followed the evil spies?
  3. Why are tzitzit only worn on a four cornered garment?
  4. Why did Moshe change Joshua’s name?”

Rabbi Michael D. Klein

Rabbi Michael D. Klein attended Yeshiva College of South Florida and served as Torah Reader, Hebrew teacher, Chazzan and spiritual leader of various synagogues throughout South Florida. In January 2015 he became Ritual Director, Bnai/Bnot Mitzvah instructor and 7th grade Hebrew instructor for Temple Torat Emet of Boynton Beach. In October 2019 he was accepted into an accelerated track and received his shicha from Yeshiva Adath Wolkowisk and has been the Rabbinic leadership of Temple Torat Emet since August 2020. In September of 2022 he was appointed Rabbinic and Spiritual Advisor of the Florida Region of FJMC.

Choose Shabbat; choose to celebrate, to light candles, sing songs and learn a little Torah.

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