יום חמישי י"ג באדר תשפ"א 25/02/2021
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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Place

  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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In Weekly Parsha

Parshat Shelach

We Shall Surely Go Up and Do It, Because We Can Conquer Them.

Menachem Ginosar 07/06/2009 08:00
Throughout the generations, illustrations portraying the scouts who went to spy out the Land show them clutching, in bony hands, a stave over which is suspended an enormous bunch of grapes. The difficulty of transporting the huge load is made evident in ancient drawings. (There were no cameras, digital or otherwise, at the time).

Many Jewish vintners over the years have incorporated this illustration in their marketing symbols.

I remember, as a child, looking at the illustration of two men carrying a mammoth-sized cluster of grapes hanging from a stave balanced on their shoulders. The picture was part of a trademark decorating the top of a wine-cork. I simply couldn't stand it.

As I had learned from my rebbeim, I knew that the scouts' entire intention in spying out the Land was in order to find something slanderous to say. ("Just as her fruits are abnormal, so are her people abnormal.") (Bamidbar Parashas Shlach 13:23 and Rashi, 10.) Therefore, it was hard for me to accept that Jewish-owned businesses used just this particular symbol.

When I grew up, however, I understood that the Land of Israel's production of large and juicy fruits is praiseworthy and is an expression of the superiority of the Land. I understood that Moshe Rabbeinu had told the scouts, "and you will become stronger, and you will take of the fruit of the Land" (Bamidbar 13:20) because he desired to present evidence of the Land's praiseworthiness to the People Israel. It was the scouts, who, while spying out the Land, chose not to observe the facts correctly. Instead, they decided to claim that the unusually large fruits were evidence of some defect in the Promised Land!
The scouts repeated this mistake on every mission that they undertook from the time they left the Israelite encampment to explore the Land until they returned to the desert. Moshe Rabbeinu had asked them to check whether the residents of the land of Canaan dwelled in scattered, unwalled cities, showing that they did not fear provocative attacks from other mere mortals, or whether they lived behind fortified walls, fearing other people in their vicinity.

When the scouts returned from touring the Land, they told Moshe Rabbeinu "the people in the Land are very strong, the cities are extremely large and fortified, and we even saw the children of the giant there."

The scouts ought to have realized that there was no need to fear. On the contrary, the presence of large, fortified cities indicated that the residents were weak, and could be conquered. Their need for strong fortifications advertised their weakness. The scouts, however, who wished to weaken the will of the people, sought to interpret their findings from their point of view, which was that the dwellers in the Land were strong, and that the Children of Israel would not be able to conquer them.

Had the scouts embarked on their journey with good and worthwhile intentions, they would have been able to discern that the fruits were large and beautiful, that the inhabitants of the Land were fearful and that even the children of the giant could be conquered easily.

As the Gemorah in Sota 43 explains, the verse in the parasha, "and they went and they came to Moshe and to Aharon
compares the scouts' departure with their arrival. The verse teaches that just as their arrival was accompanied with evil counsel, so had their departure been made with evil counsel. The entire trip of the scouts who went to spy out the Land had been made with flawed intentions and wicked designs.

Calev, conversely, set out with worthy intentions, and therefore he was able to divert the attention of the incited populace and to declare proudly before them, "We shall surely go up and do it, because we can conquer them."