PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.
MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
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NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 3
2 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
1 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 119
NUMBER OF WORDS: 1540
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 5820
HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Yehoshua / Joshua 2:1 - 24
Shabbat Mevarchim Chodesh Tammuz.
Rosh Chodesh - Wednesday & Thursday, June 13 & 14, 2018.
This week we study Chapter 3 of Pirkei Avot - "Ethics of the Fathers"
In our last episode Bnei Yisroel got Eretz Yisroel
fever as the Cloud of Glory kicked off for a 3 day run to the Eretz
Yisroel goal line. But the Eirev Rav, that no good
mixed multitude, converts from Egypt, intercepted and called "fowl."
| As our Parsha
opens, Moshe announces that they will be landing in Eretz Yisroel
in a couple of days. There is a mixed reaction to the news. On the
one hand they are happy that Hashem's promise to Avraham
is about to be fulfilled. On the other hand, Eretz Yisroel
is occupied by seven nations whose armies can probably clobber Bnei
After all the miracles of the past year (and two battles along
the way) Bnei Yisroel still don't get it... Hashem
will take care of everything. All He asks for is a little
faith. The Jews get a brainstorm: send spies to check out the
land and see if it's worth fighting for. Moshe's caught by surprise.
He asks Hashem what to do. Hashem isn't too
happy with the idea. But He commands Moshe to pick one
man from each Shevet (tribe) to spy out the land. Moshe
picks the best man from each Shevet with the exception
of Shevet Levi. These chosen men are all great tzadikim.
Moshe gathers the spies and lays down a few rules:
1 - Always travel during the day and start from the south going
2 - Find out if the nations are a bunch of chickens, hiding behind
secure walled cities and how many people occupy these cities.
Of course, Moshe pushes the scenic side of the tour:
3 - Check out the wells and fruits, and don't forget to bring
back some samples!
Moshe figures the fix is in. If Eretz Yisroel is all
it's cracked up to be, these spies will be dragging the Bnei
Yisroel into Canaan.
|Recognize the name
"Hoshea?" No? That's because Moshe changes it to "Yehoshua." Yehoshua,
one of Moshe's prize students, has been picked to be a spy. Moshe
adds the letter Yud to the front of his name. Yud represents
the name of Hashem. Moshe hopes that Hashem will
keep Yehoshua safe from the diabolical plans of the spies.
And they're off - with a little
help from Hashem.The spies go in from the south. There's
no point in wearing a disguise. Wherever the spies go, Hashem
plagues the population and keeps the people busy mourning the
dead while the spies pass through. The spies indeed discover that
Eretz Yisroel does flow with milk and honey as Moshe
has indicated. In the south of Eretz Yisroel, purported
to be much less fertile land than the north, fruits grow in gigantic
But the spies have no intention
of coming back with a good report because, in a word, THEY are
chickens. They are scared to go to war with the nations of Canaan
and will say whatever it takes to keep Bnei Yisroel from
entering the land.
Only Yehoshua and Calev intend to bring back a good report. Yehoshua
is very vocal, letting the other spies know that what they're
doing is wrong. Calev, however, keeps his cool, awaiting the right
time to reveal his allegiance to Moshe.The spies do, however,
gather a few samples to bring back to the Midbar. They
cut down a vine of hugh grapes. It takes eight of them to carry
the cluster. One more man carries a pomegranate and still another
balances a giant fig. Sounds like they're fulfilling Moshe's request.
But these spies have ulterior motives for dragging back the giant
THE SPIES BRING HOME LOSHON HORA
| Forty days later,
on the 8th of Av, the spies return to the Midbar. They
go past Moshe's tent, straight for the public address system and
broadcast their report to the entire nation. They start out by saying
that the land really does flow with milk and honey and that the
land grows huge fruits.
So far so good, but, at this point the spies turn against Moshe and announce
that only superhumans could live in such a land.The spies go on
to discourage the Bnei Yisroel with lots of reasons not
to even attempt to enter Eretz Yisroel.
The crowd is in an uproar! Moshe tries to remind them that Hashem
will do the real fighting but they don't want to hear it!
- There's no place for a sneak attack;
- There are giants living there;
- There's disease and plague wherever you go...
Then Calev steps up to the plate. He yells out, "And that's
not all Moshe did to us!" The crowd quiets down with the hopes
of hearing more Lashon Hora. But that is not to be. Instead,
Calev reminds the people of Moshe's dedication: "Moshe split the
sea and got the Mann to rain down every morning and he
will lead us to conquering the land of Israel with Hashem's
Moshe takes it from here, reminding the people that Yehoshua
agrees that they can win it.
But the score is ten to two and the bad report wins in a shout
out. There's no going back. Darkness has fallen and the spies
have doomed Bnei Yisroel to remember Tisha
B'Av (the 9th of Av) as the day of gloom for all of time.
What could have been a great Kiddush Hashem has instead
become a Chilul Hashem racked with Lashon Hora.
| The camp is in chaos.
Even the Sanhedrin is distraught! The people throw stones
at Yehoshua and Calev and regret ever leaving Mitzrayim
(Egypt). Moshe and Aharon know the drill. They fall to the ground
in prayer, hoping beyond hope to appease Hashem's anger before
But it's too late! In view of the whole nation, the Cloud of
Glory rises over the Mishkan. Hashem says to
Moshe, "How much longer will it take for Bnei Yisroel
to trust me? They've seen signs... they've experienced wonders. They should have
faith that I will make them victorious over the Canaanim and give them Eretz Yisroel! I am ready to wipe them all out and start over with you, Moshe!"
But fathering a nation is not on Moshe's agenda. What will it
look like to the nations of the world if Hashem wipes out
the entire Bnei Yisroel in the middle of the desert. They'll
think that Hashem is an angry G-d who never intended to
bring His people to the promised land in the first place.
Hashem accepts Moshe's tefilah (prayer) with
a couple of conditions. Even though He would not wipe
out Bnei Yisroel, He would wipe out this generation.
The Jews would not enter the Land of Israel, just a three day
march from here. Instead, they will remain in the desert for 40
years until the entire generation is gone. Then the next generation
will enter Eretz Yisroel under the leadership of Yehoshua
As part of the deal, the spies who spoke Lashon Hora
die a horrible death. Their tongues stretch down into their stomachs.
Then worms crawl down into their bellies, causing them to die.
Upon hearing the words of Hashem, the people realize that they have been selfish and faithless. They immediately do teshuva (repent). In desperation, one group even decides to cross the border and take on the Canaanim themselves. But their fate is sealed, and of course, without Hashem on their side, the armed forces of Amalek and Canaan destroy them. The Jewish fighters are defeated and all hopes of entering Eretz Yisroel are dashed for the next 40 years.
| How do you stop a nation from
mourning? Give 'em more Mitzvot! Hashem wants
the younger generation of Bnei Yisroel to know that He
still intends to give them the Land so He gives them Mitzvot
that will only apply when the Bnei Yisroel will enter Eretz
One of these Mitzvot is to add flour mixed with oil
(the Meal Offering), and wine (the Libation), to most every Korban
brought to the Mizbayach. How much of each? Depends on
| Another Mitzva
is called taking "Challah."
When a Jew bakes about five pounds of dough made from the five
main species of grain - wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt - he
must first separate a piece of the dough and give it to a Kohain.
It's the same as giving the Kohain Terumah from the crops
in the field. This portion is called "challah". A challah
is about the size of an olive. These days we burn this portion
since there are no pure Kohanim to give them to.
| When the Bnei
Yisroel left Mitzrayim, Hashem gave them
the Mitzvah of keeping Shabbat as soon as they
got to the desert. Since the laws of Shabbat are a tough
group, Moshe appointed Shomrim - experts on the laws of
Shabbat - to make sure no one broke the laws of the seventh
Now the Torah breaks with a news flash! A man has been seen collecting twigs on Shabbat. The guards cry out, "Stop!" This is forbidden under the Melacha of "M'amer," - collecting plants on Shabbat. But the man ignores the Shomrim and is brought before Moshe's Court to be judged.The verdict is in: - stone him to death.
This teaches the nation that keeping the Shabbat is a law to take very seriously.
The Parsha goes out with a bang as Hashem reveals
the mitzvah of Tzitzit, that 5-star mitzvah
that is near the top of the popularity chart. Hashem commands
all Jewish men to attach tzitzit to any garment the has four
Tzitzit are a set of four strings, folded in half to make 8 strings. The strings are knotted and rolled in a special way and the eight strings hang down like tassles.
Part of the Mitzvah is to dye one of the white strings
in each corner blue with the blood of a fish called Chilazon.
In the old days these fish were a cinch to find. Over time they
disappeared and today we don't know for sure which fish the Chilazon
Although the commandment only has to be fulfilled if a Jew happens to wear a four-cornered garment, traditionally, we wear a specially made 4-cornered garment to fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzit everyday.
The tzitzit are meant to be looked at. They remind us that we are Hashem's servants, observing ALL His Mitzvot.
But is there a deserter in the ranks? Tune in next week as Korach and his gang try to mount a revolution - and it's Moshe and Aharon's jobs he's after in the next exciting episode of:
the Midrash Maven on Shlach
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