The Weekly Shtikle Blog

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Friday, June 4

The Weekly Shtikle - Shelach

A very special Mazal Tov to my brother-in-law, Aharon Yeres, upon his recent engagement to Rachelle Stark of Lawrence, NY. 
As a follow up to last week's Mazal Tov, we named our new baby daughter Michal, for my great aunt, Lady Amélie Jakobovits.
The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my Opa, Tovia Yehudah ben Yoel, a'h.

Of course, the most significant of events that takes place in this week's parsha is the sin of the spies.Ten of the spies delivered bad reports about Eretz Yisroel while only Yehoshua and Calev delivered positive reports.  My Zadie, R' Yaakov Bulka, z"l, points out, though, that if you look at the positive components of each of the reports, there doesn't seem to be much difference.  In pasuk 14:8 Caleiv describes Eretz Yisroel as "Eretz zavas chalav udvash" But the ten spies also describe it as such in 13:27 "vegam Eretz zavas chalav udvash hi". What is the difference? Also, why did the ten spies use the word "vegam".

My Zadie answers that we see in next week's parsha (16:13) that part of Dasan and Aviram's complaint to Moshe was "hame'at ki he'elisanu mei'eretz zavas chalav udvash", this referring to Egypt. We see clearly that they considered Egypt to also be an "eretz zavas chalav udvash". Therefore, the spies are rebuked for saying "vegam..." because what they meant was that Eretz Yisroel is also nice, like Egypt, but no better. Caleiv, however, worded it differently, saying "eretz zavas chalav udvash hi" IT is an eretz zavas chalav udvash like no other.

To add to this, we see a similar concept in the gemara Sanhedrin 104a which the Daf Yomi cycle just recently passed. The gemara describes how Sancheirev was rewarded for praising Eretz Yisroel and Bnei Yisroel were rebuked for speaking badly about it. The gemara goes on to explain the specifics, that when Bnei Yisroel were exiled and they came to their new lands they said "This is just like we had in Eretz Yisroel". The lesson learned from all of this is a great one. For we know that the principal lesson in this week's parsha is the gravity of the sin of talking badly anout Eretz Yisroel. It is obvious that this includes direct criticism of Eretz Yisroel, but now we see that even putting other lands on the level of Eretz Yisroel is a grave sin which falls under the same category.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
AstroTorah: Yam Suf 7 or 8 Days after Exodus? by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: Solar Powered Giants or Orion's Belt Loosened? by R' Ari Storch
AstroTorah: Spies in the Skies by R' Ari Storch

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