by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS SHLACH 5763 BS"D
Ch. 13, v. 22: "V'Chevron sheva shonim niv'n'soh lifnei Tzo'an Mitzroyim" - And Chevron was built seven years before Tzo'an of Egypt - Rashi says that these words exalt the praise of Eretz Yisroel over any other land. However, Rabbi Yoseif B'chor Shor Baal Tosfos says that the Torah tells us this to refute the claim of the spies. They complained that the land consumes its inhabitants (verse 32). These words tell us that it is not so, as we see that Chevron was an ancient city and is still inhabited.
Ch. 13, v. 23: "Va'yich'r'su mishom z'moroh" - And they cut from there a branch - This was at the beginning of their reconnaissance mission. Why didn't they wait until just before they left the land to cut this branch and not have to take it along with them as they spied out the land? They were so eager to bring proof for their negative report that they feared they might not find similar fruit later on and this fruit might be harvested by the time they come back to this place. (M'oroh Shel Torah)
Ch. 13, v. 26: "Va'yeilchu va'yovo'u el Moshe" - And they went and they came to Moshe - What is this coming and going? Since they planned to convey a negative report they didn't immediately enter Moshe's tent. (Perhaps they wanted the public to be aware of this, and by reluctantly entering everyone realized the nature of their report before it was even transmitted.) Alternatively, these words allude to the fact that the spies left Eretz Yisroel and would never return. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Ch. 13, v. 28: "Ki az ho'om" - That the nation is powerful - When one feels that he has some advantage over his opponents, notwithstanding that his opponents likewise have some advantage over him, he can still retain some feeling of confidence and hope of victory. With the spies' relating that the inhabitants of the land are "az," the bnei Yisroel's spirits were crushed. Their advantage is that they are "azim she'b'umos" (gemara Beitzoh 25b), and now they met their match. (Maada'nei Melech)
Ch. 13, v. 29: "Amo'leik yosheiv b'eretz ha'negev" - Amo'leik sits in the southern land - The verse relates that the spies were attempting to dissuade the bnei Yisroel from attempting to enter the land and route out its inhabitants. Firstly, they are very strong. Even if you hope to overpower them through the element of a surprise attack, it will not work. They have nations stationed on their borders, "Amo'leik yosheiv b'eretz ha'negev." (A'keidas Yitzchok)
Ch. 13, v. 32: "V'chol ho'om .. anshei midos" - And all the people .. are giants - The spies just said that the land consumes its inhabitants (our verse). How could they in the same breath say that the people are giants, indicating that the land produces powerful people? They are saying that only people with powerful constitutions are capable of surviving the land's climate. All others seem to have died off. (Ohel Yaakov)
Ch. 14, v. 9: "Ki lachmeinu heim" - Because they are our bread - We understand these words to simply mean that just as it is easy to consume bread, so too, we will easily overpower them. The N'tziv explains that just as OUR bread is manna, a miraculous bread sent from the heavens by Hashem, so too, even if you fear that the inhabitants of the land are exceedingly powerful, they are like OUR bread, the manna. We will consume them even if it requires miraculous victories.
Ch. 14, v. 20: "Solachti kidvo'recho" - I have forgiven according to your words - Had the sinners repented properly, I would have forgiven them on the basis of their own merit and allowed them to enter the Promised Land. However, I am only forgiving them "kidvo'rech," as per your words that if they were to be killed to a man a desecration of Hashem's honour would result (verses 15-16). To avoid the desecration of My honour it is sufficient to bring the next generation into the land, thus refuting the claim that I am incapable of bringing them to their final destination. However, the actual sinners are not forgiven and they will die in the desert. (Haa'meik Dovor)
Ch. 14, v. 23: "V'chol m'naatzai lo yiruho" - And all My inciters will not see it - What is added with these words if all men between the ages of 20 and 60 were already excluded from seeing the Promised Land as per the earlier words of our verse and verse 29? This teaches us that Hashem warned that even those who were below the age of 20 years would also not live to see the Promised Land if they would aggravate Hashem, as we indeed find with the congregation of Korach, with the sinners of p'ore, and with those who complained against the manna. (Sforno)
Ch. 14, v. 27: "Ad mosai lo'eidoh horo'oh hazose" - Until when will this evil congregation endure - The gemara Sotoh 35a says that the spies died a most hideous death. Their tongues became elongated until they reached their navels and worms came from their tongues into their insides through their navels. This is allude to in the first letters of the words "MoSaI Lo'EiDoH." "Milshonom Tolo'im Yotzim L'tiburom Al Dvar Ho'oretz." (Nachal K'dumim) Ch. 14, v. 29: "Bamidbor ha'zeh yiplu figreichem" - In this desert your copses will fall - Why was Hashem willing to forgive the sin of the golden calf, a sin in the realm of idol worship, at least to the extent that He did not decree death upon them, and by the sin of the spies, seemingly not as severe a sin, He decreed death upon the masses? The answer is that the people incited one another to refuse entering Eretz Yisroel, "Va'yilonu al Moshe v'al Aharon" (verse 2), "Ad onoh y'naatzuni ho'om ha'zeh" (verse 11). However, by the sin of the golden calf, those who were involved accepted it of their own accord. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)
Alternatively, by the golden calf they were at least pursuing spirituality, albeit through a false god. Here they were only looking to save their skins. (The Holy Admor of Kotzk)
Ch. 15, v. 20: "Reishis arisoseichem chaloh torimu srumoh kisrumas goren kein torimu osoh" - The first of your dough you shall tithe as chaloh just as the tithing of the grain crop similarly you shall tithe it - The M.R. on our verse says that this parsha is placed next to the parsha of idol worship to teach us that one who is recalcitrant in tithing chaloh is equated to one who worships idols. How are we to understand this comparison? As well, why doesn't the verse simply tell us to tithe our dough? Why the need to compare it to tithing our crops?
When one tithes his grain produce, thus indicating that he is cognizant of Hashem's involvement in the successful crop, this is not a very great feat. After all, if not for the rains, good weather, lack of blight and other diseases, his crop would have been a failure. However, once a person has his grain safely stored away and has it milled into flour, he feels that bringing his efforts to producing the final edible life-staple bread is totally in his own hands. This attitude is also denying Hashem's powers and involvement, akin to idol worship. Our verse therefore tells us that we should tithe the dough as we do the grain, with the same level of cognizance that this only took place through Hashem's involvement. (Birkei Yoseif)
Only raising the question of the comparison of tithing dough with tithing the grain crop and not dealing with the juxtaposition to idol worship, the Meshech Chochmoh explains that when one tithes his crop he is readily cognizant of Hashem's blessing and will give the Kohein a generous portion. If he is not successful in producing grain and is forced to purchase grain, he is not required to tithe it, "lokuach potur."
With dough, the responsibility to tithe exists even when it was purchased from another. Not seeing the blessing of Hashem, as per the explanation of the words "Ufochadto layloh v'yomom" (Dvorim 28:66), that this refers to one who is forced to purchase bread from the marketplace (gemara M'nochos 24), a person might not have the magnanimity of heart to tithe generously. Therefore our verse tells us that one should tithe as he does his own crop.
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