Note: I originally intended to post this before Tisha B’Av, but I had no time for blogging last week, due to various real life endeavors – including, well, keep reading to find out…
In this past Shabbat’s Torah Tidbits, Rav Leff notes that David HaMelech summarizes (Tehilim 106:24) the Sin of the Spies in three words:
“וַיִּמְאֲסוּ בְּאֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה.”
This means, according to Rav Leff, “they were disgusted with the coveted land.” (The Official Our Shiputzim Hebrew-English Translator translates it as “they despised the desirable land.”)
Rav Leff then continues:
“It stands to reason that correcting this sin and appreciating the coveted land, the land of Israel, would be a great factor in bringing about the redemption and the coming of Moshiach.”
With this very idea in mind, I’ve tried to write pre-Tisha B’Av posts in recent years that would “counteract the meraglim (Spies).” (See my posts from 5769, 5770, and 5771.)
And, thus, with your indulgence, I’d like to share yet another incredible aspect of life here in our beautiful Land:
Last week, thousands of Jews from all walks of life flocked to Alon Shvut, home of the world-renowned Yeshivat Har Etzion, to learn Torah during Michlelet Herzog’s annual Yemei Iyun B’Tanach.
For years, close friends and family members have been raving about this extraordinary program – the top-notch lecturers, the phenomenal and fascinating shiurim, the knowledgeable participants, and the way everything flows so smoothly and efficiently in spite of the large crowds.
Finally, this year, I was able to participate myself, and I can definitely say that the program more than lives up to all the hype.
I mean, what could be more exhilarating and inspiring than seeing so many people take time off their busy schedules to go learn Torah from the country’s leading Tanach scholars in the heart of Eretz Yisrael?
IMHO, the program’s very existence – as well as its ever-growing popularity (the organizers were stunned when the shiurim closed out well over a month in advance) – certainly qualifies as an “antidote to the meraglim!”
And on a related note, Rav Meidan, Rosh Yeshivat Har Etzion, discussed the meraglim during one of the shiurim he gave last week.
He showed that the Sin of the Spies was basically an intelligence failure. The meraglim were charged with gathering information, but they also took it upon themselves to interpret the data they had collected.
However, Rav Meidan also explained that on a more fundamental level, the Spies’ error was that they believed that returning to Egypt was a viable option.
It wasn’t until the subsequent Sin of the Maapilim that they realized their mistake. They discovered that not going to Eretz Yisrael meant staying in the hot, dry, barren wilderness for forty long years. In other words, they learned the hard way that Eretz Yisrael is the only option.
May we all soon be privileged to recognize that Eretz Yisrael is not just the only option but also the ideal option; may we learn to fully appreciate and value its significance, holiness, beauty, and uniqueness; and may our eyes behold Hashem’s return to Tzion with mercy, speedily and in our days.