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Tuesday
Jun052018

40 YEARS OF PREPARING TO ENTER THE LAND

Although the will and desire of the Meraglim for life in the desert, discussed above, is a highly elevated level of d’veikus, avoda mei’ahava (a Divine service stemming from the love of G-d), nevertheless, settling Eretz Yisroel is an even greater achievement, namely fulfilling G-d’s commandments without seeking anything in return, “oseh ha’emes mipnei sh’hu emes – acting with truth and integrity [simply] because it is the true way.”  

Translated by Boruch Merkur

2. Chassidus (the inner, mystical dimension of the Torah) explains that the Scouts (Meraglim) did not want to enter Eretz Yisroel [not because of their spiritual insensitivity but on the contrary] because of their spiritual stature. (See Likkutei Torah, Shlach, beg.) That is, they were reluctant to enter Eretz Yisroel so as not to immerse themselves in the mire of daily life – “six years you shall sow your field, etc.” – being bogged down in physical and material concerns. This sentiment resonates with the saying of Rashbi, “If a man were to plough … and sow [his field as required, committing himself to the time-consuming lifestyle of farming and agriculture] … What will become of Torah?” The entire will and desire of the Meraglim (derived from Mattan Torah) was to remain in the desert in a state of undisturbed meditation, removed from the mundane lifestyle of a settler, being unencumbered by the difficulty of making a living, etc. (In the desert, G-d provided their needs through: the mahn, bread from the heavens; water from the Well of Miriam; the Clouds of Glory, which accompanied them and exterminated the snakes and scorpions, as well as washing and pressing their clothing, etc.) Indeed, this is the true path to Torah study and to cleave to G-d, as in the saying of our Sages, “The Torah was given (to be expounded) only to those who ate the mahn.”

(They did, however, err in dismissing the tremendous virtue of the avoda of living in Eretz Yisroel, fulfilling Mitzvos that are unique to the land, and physical Mitzvos in general. In fact, the latter approach is even superior to the d’veikus (spiritual rapture), etc., they pursued in the desert.)

The above sheds light on the fact that specifically from the “eida – congregation” of the Meraglim we derive that ten Jews are considered a holy quorum. The transgression of the Meraglim is not to be understood in the simple sense [i.e., as a rebellion against G-d]; they just erred in esteeming their approach (discussed above) as the ideal path in serving G-d.

But since they were so advanced in avodas Hashem [which resulted in their being judged at a much higher degree of scrutiny] – and also because of (and this is perhaps the main thing) their efforts to influence the Jewish people in this faulty approach – it was indeed a serious and heinous sin. […]

8. The Meraglim (and the Generation of the Desert in general) were “b’madreiga gavoa m’od – at a very advanced level in serving G-d,” as discussed above. “They were reluctant to enter Eretz Yisroel so as not to immerse themselves in the mire of daily life.” They rejected the avoda that entails “six years you shall sow your field,” “a man ploughs … and sows” (as above in Section 2), because that lifestyle does not permit a person to “properly” delve into Torah study, etc. In settling the land, most of their time would have instead been devoted to “matters that pertain to bodily needs” (Rambam Laws or Repentance 9:1). They wanted to maintain and continue to experience the miraculous life they were enjoying in the desert, where there were bountiful resources, as discussed above (mahn from the heavens; water from the Well of Miriam; the Clouds of Glory that travelled with them, discussed above). The Meraglim wanted to prolong the journey through the desert and continue to ascend spiritually. In the desert there were no distractions from avodas Hashem. They were able to live free of mundane responsibilities, allowing them to achieve tranquility and amass wisdom to merit Olam HaBa, the Future Era of Redemption. Their approach reflects how “all the Jewish people, their prophets and sages, etc., desired the Messianic Era … in order to experience serenity, etc.” (Rambam Laws or Repentance 9:2)

Now, although the will and desire of the Meraglim for life in the desert, discussed above, is a highly elevated level of d’veikus, avoda mei’ahava (a Divine service stemming from the love of G-d), nevertheless, settling Eretz Yisroel is an even greater achievement, namely fulfilling G-d’s commandments without seeking anything in return, “oseh ha’emes mipnei sh’hu emes – acting with truth and integrity [simply] because it is the true way.”

But to attain this lofty ideal requires an even higher love of G-d. And since the Meraglim and the Dor HaMidbar (the Generation of the Desert) wanted to remain in the desert and did not want to enter the land – it is a testament that they had not yet reached this level of complete d’veikus; they had not attained the ultimate love of G-d required to devote oneself to this utterly selfless Divine service.

The Jewish people therefore [by Divine decree] remained in the desert to pursue this level of perfection, removed from all matters that detract from Torah study and cleaving to G-d. They were thus enabled to pursue serenity and tranquility in order to “amass wisdom,” which allowed them to achieve complete spiritual rapture, etc. [as a preparation for the ultimate avoda of life in Eretz Yisroel]. Thereafter, in the following generation – a new generation and a new level in avodas Hashem – they entered Eretz Yisroel to fulfil G-d’s commandments. In terms of both their very entry to the land, as well as their fulfillment of Mitzvos maasiyos there (Mitzvos with a physical application), they were able to experience the concept of “oseh ha’emes mipnei sh’hu emes – acting with truth and integrity [simply] because it is the true way” [utter selfless devotion to G-d in fulfilling His will].

Thus, Yehoshua and Kaleiv’s response to the entire Jewish congregation – “If G-d desires us and brings us, etc.” – is clear: Entering the land is connected with “G-d desires us”; it is G-d’s desire and will. Fulfilling G-d’s will in this manner reveals that “G-d desires us”; G-d desires the Jewish people’s avoda of cleaving to Him in an even greater way than the “amassing wisdom” that took place in the desert.

(From the address of Shabbos Parshas Shlach 5746; Likkutei Sichos 33, pg. 86-87, 91-2)

 

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