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JUNE 30-July 1, 2000 - 28 SIVAN 5760
Rosh Hodesh Tamuz will be celebrated on Monday & Tuesday, July 3 & 4.

Pop Quiz: What punishment was given to the man found violating the Shabbat?

by Rabbi Shmuel Choueka

"To the Tribe of Yosef, to the Tribe of Menasheh" (Bemidbar 13:11)

When the Torah lists the names of the spies who went into Israel, it attributes the Tribe of Menasheh as being part of the Tribe of Yosef. This is very strange, since it doesn't do so when mentioning the Tribe of Ephraim, who is usually mentioned as the son of Yosef only with Menasheh! The Da'at Zekenim explains that since the prince of Menasheh was one of those guilty of spreading slander about Israel, and he came form Yosef Hasadik, who was also accused of speaking against his brothers, we therefore attribute Menasheh's words as being a result of Yosef's words. However, Yehoshua, the prince of Ephraim, did not say any negative report, so he is not attributed to Yosef.

Amazing! Yosef had lived hundreds of years before this episode, and what he said against his brothers was in a constructive manner to his father. Yet the Torah wants us to know that our actions and words may have far-reaching consequences. We should never think of our deeds as being insignificant. They may have an effect on our families and those we influence for many generations. All the more so when we say or do good things, the effect can be phenomenal! Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Reuven Semah

"As the first of your kneading you shall set aside a loaf as a portion" (Bemidbar 15:20)

Our perashah tells the tragic story of the spies who gave a frightening report to the Jewish people who were about to enter the holy land of Israel. The spies had a mission, to view the land first-hand and describe its beauty and holiness, which would encourage the people to enter the land and conquer it. Instead they reported that it was unconquerable and we should not enter.

Later in the perashah we are given the misvah of hallah. Every person who bakes must separate a piece of dough and give it to the Kohen. This misvah was performed originally in the land of Israel. The Enayim Latorah explains that this misvah of hallah is to give atonement for the sin of the spies. Imagine the great honor that was bestowed upon these twelve men, to be the first Jews to set foot on the holy land, a land that was promised hundreds of years earlier to Abraham. They should have lovingly touched the soil and kissed its stones and thanked Hashem to be the first to enter. We remember the great honor felt by the first men to walk on the moon. The land of Israel is far more holy and important. To atone for this, the Jewish people were commanded to give the first piece of dough from the produce of this land.

I know a great Rabbi who was born in Israel. His love for Israel was for real. He always used to say that the streets of the most immoral districts in Tel-Aviv have more holiness than all of the holy places outside of Israel. Politics aside, the land of Israel today is our holy home that we yearn to live in. Shabbat Shalom.


"We cannot go up to the people because they are stronger than us" (Bemidbar 13:31)

The Akedah explains that the report of the spies itself was appropriate. They were told to see the land and report back on the conditions of the land itself and of the people who lived there. But their task was just to observe and relate what they saw. Their mistake was in rendering a decision that they should not attempt to enter the land. It was not up to them to come to any final conclusions, only to report the facts.

They were wrong about their not being able to conquer the land. Hashem has the power to help against all odds. Just because in their minds they did not think it was possible for them to successfully take over the land of Israel did not mean that it was really not possible.

Very often people see factors in a situation and come to erroneous conclusions based on their perceptions. Even if someone's observations are correct, there could always be factors that he didn't take into consideration or that he was unaware of. It is a special talent to be able to reach correct decisions based on the facts. This is especially true when having to make judgments about other people. Some people have a strong tendency to reach negative conclusions about others that are inaccurate. Even if what you see about another person is basically true, always keep in mind that your conclusions could be wrong and the other person should still be judged favorably. (Growth through Torah)

Answer to Pop Quiz: They stoned him.

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