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Haftarah: Yehoshua 2:1-24

JUNE 4-5, 2010 23 SIVAN 5770


“And how is the land in which it dwells, is it good or is it bad.” (Bemidbar 13:19)

One might ask, why was it necessary to send spies at all! The Ramban holds that the conquest of the land was to be done in a natural way, and therefore it is natural to spy the land to plan the invasion. But why was it important to know if the land was good or not? And if the land was not good would the Jewish people decide not to go in? Did the people have a doubt if they wanted to enter the land? If there was no doubt about entering (which seems to be the case before the spies sinned), why did they have to know if it was good; when they enter they will see for themselves!

Rabbi Shimshon Pinkus explains that the answer is based on the Gemara (Yoma 45a). It says that when the Jewish people came to Jerusalem three times a year the Kohanim would lift up the curtain of the Holy of Holies and show the people the Cherubim that were on the Holy Ark to show the people how much Hashem loved the Jewish people. In addition to this the people were shown the Lehem Hapaim, the special bread that was placed on the Golden Table in the Hechal, to show how much Hashem loved us. So, too, is the land of Israel, which is the special place that ties the Jewish people to Hashem, and Israel is the main place where we cling to Hashem. Therefore, the Jews wanted to know how much Hashem loved them. The more beautiful the land that Hashem chose for them, the more love Hashem had for them. The Jewish people truly yearned for this close love between them and Hashem.

Even today, when the full beauty of the land is yet to come, the land is really beautiful and so is the relationship between us and Hashem. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

When the spies came back from touring the land of Israel with a negative report, they said those infamous words, “the nations are stronger than us/than Him. They used the words “hazak hu mimenu” which can be interpreted as either “stronger than us” or G-d forbid “stronger than Hashem!” How could anyone say such a thing, let alone great leaders like the ten men chosen to be spies?

The Hafess Hayim says that they were really saying we are not worthy of a miracle, so therefore Hashem will not be able to overcome these nations. Not because of a lack of Hashem’s power but because of our limitations, Hashem will not be able to do miracles for us. The lesson from this is that this is also wrong! We should never look at ourselves as so down that Hashem cannot help us. He can always help, He can always save, and we must turn to Him at all times, no matter what level we are on! Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


Every year, the New York City Marathon draws international press coverage as thousands of runners take on the twenty-six-mile loop through the five boroughs of the greatest city in the world. Some run to win the race. Others run to test their stamina and see whether they can finish. Still others run for the social interaction created by a race of such magnitude. But all have one thing in common. Everyone who runs the marathon trains for months, for hours every week, to build up the endurance level needed to participate. No one shows up at the starting line, on a whim, on the morning of the race, with no training at all.

Athletes know that patience and perseverance are necessary to achieve goals. Even the seemingly unattainable become possible when you focus on the target and set a plan to hit the mark. Consistent training leads to success.

Similarly, when you dream of achieving a spiritual goal, you must accept that results are improbable. Becoming a Torah scholar, conquering an area of halachah proficiently, absorbing a difficult tractate of the Talmud or Mishnah, are not accomplished overnight and without great exertion. You must work to achieve. But if you do not have the perseverance to build up spiritual stamina and to increase mental capacity, you will be left frustrated at the starting line.

If you wish to grow, accept patiently all of your current flaws and shortcomings as inhibitors to success. But know without a doubt that if you undertake a training program with consistency, all things are achievable. You can change a trait or learn to learn by attacking the target with patience and resolve. (One Minute With Yourself – Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

* * * * *

A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.

Call to 646-279-8712 or email (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

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