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Sunday, June 6, 2010

They Were Not Supposed to "Spy," Just "Tour"

I have two favorite Parshot Shavua, Torah Portions of the Week, which never cease to inspire me with ideas.  They are לך לך  ושלח לך Lech Lecha "Go!" and Sh'lach Lecha "Send!"  This Shabbat we read Sh'lach Lecha.  I have a few things I want to post about it, but the hour is very late, so I'll start with a short one and G-d willing will post more tomorrow.


There's the linguistic theory that all languages are derived from Hebrew, and in Sh'lach Lecha we see an example.  The twelve tribal heads are given the assignment to לתור latur, observe like a tourist the Land.


ב שְׁלַח-לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, וְיָתֻרוּ אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, אֲשֶׁר-אֲנִי נֹתֵן, לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל: אִישׁ אֶחָד אִישׁ אֶחָד לְמַטֵּה אֲבֹתָיו, תִּשְׁלָחוּ--כֹּל, נָשִׂיא בָהֶם. 2 'Send thou men, that they may spy out* the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel; of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a prince among them.'

*meaning observe not judge/analyse

In Hebrew, Russian, English, Spanish and other languages the linguistic root "tour" means the same thing.  To "tour" is to travel, observe, enjoy the sites, nothing deeper.

The Biblical sin was that the tribal heads who were sent on a "pilot trip" before the massive aliyah of the Jewish People to the HolyLand to promote the Land and get the people all enthused decided to get "practical."  The did say that the Land was rich and fertile, but then they added that "but."  The told the people that the locals were big and frightening and there was no way the Jewish People could defeat them.  Those tribal elders sinned, because they ignored G-d.  And they took on a role they weren't assigned.

They made a list of pros and cons, as if they were spies מרגלים miraglim doing advanced espionage.  That wasn't their assignment.  They were supposed to be happy tourists looking through the bus windows, taking their photos and reporting back great things on facebook and twitter.

It's known as "The Sin of The Spies," because they acted as spies and not tourists.

Shavua Tov!
Have a Great Week!

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