From The Rabbi’s Study… Shabbat June 4, 2021/24 Sivan 5781
Torah: Shelach Lecha (Numbers 13:1-15:42) Haftarah: (Joshua 2:1-24)
The Torah continues with the ten spies and their reports. The children of Israel rebel, the punishment of the children of Israel, rules pertaining to various sacrificial offerings, and Tzitzit- the fringes on the prayer shawl.
Did you wonder how and why Jewish people need ten people to have a minyan (to pray)?
The spies were twelve in number, which represented the tribes. They went into Canaan to scout the land for Moses. The spies reported back to Moses that the Canaanites who inhabited the land were so large and powerful that they felt, in comparison, like grasshoppers. It is not clear whether their report was credible or only a figment of their imagination. In any event, the Torah appears to be warning that if we look upon ourselves as small and insignificant, others will take us precisely at our own self evaluation.
The reason why “TEN”…for centuries and even today many synagogues need 10 MEN, however many synagogues today include women!!! The twelve spies came back with their reports, but only 2 reported that the land could be conquered. Can you guess at least one name?
He was from the tribe of Ephraim, Hosea son of Nun and from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh. Moses changed Hosea’s name because he was a brave fighter, wise and a good advisor…JOSHUA (who would be the leader of the Israelites after the death of Moses).
The ten scouts would represent the community, and synagogues would need men to worship.
The Haftarah tells the story of the two men sent by Joshua to Jericho. The purpose of this venture was to determine the morale of the Canaanites. The two spies are eventually sheltered in the home of Rachab, a prostitute, who assures them that the Israelites will be able to conquer the country. She asks the spies to save her and her family when Israel is victorious, and they agree to do so. The spies tell her to hang something out of her window from her apartment in the wall…Do you know what she put outside her window? A long red cloth. Ancient times and even modern times the red light districts were known for prostitution.
Joshua and the Israelites were victorious.
One Concept …
G-d is both in the heavens and on earth. An act of kindness often begets another.
Remember people may speak beautifully, however it is their moral and ethical actions that matter.
This Shabbat we will welcome back Nadene and David Barish from their trip to Israel. They were visiting their family north of Jerusalem when the rocket attacks by Hamas from the Gaza Strip targeted Israeli civilians and cities. Also,I emailed them during their 5 weeks and I received some updates to see if they and their family were well and safe.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder