Thursday, June 15, 2017

Shelach - Yearning For The Land

Shallllloom sweeeetest friends!!!!!

This dvar Torah should be a zchus li-lui nishmas Mr. and Mrs. Shenkman who recently passed away, the grandparents of my beloved friend and chavrusa R' Chaim Shenkman Shlita. May the Shenkman's know no more sorrow and see much simcha from here on in. And may the merit of the many mitzvos they did and the legacy of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who do so many mitzvos bein adam la-chaveiro and bein adam la-makom be a continued zchus for their neshamos!!!

And as a zchus for my beloved friend - רודף צדקה וחסד, a budding talmid chochom and incredibly sweet elevated soul, R' Zechariah Sherman Shlita, and his family, for limitless bracha in all they do.

And - for the briyus hashleima and great hatzlacha of מו"ר HaRav Zave Chaim ben Chaya Aidel.

Rabbi Rabinowitz is going on vacation to Israel. He arrives at JFK airport and goes to have his luggage checked in. 
"Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?" asks the girl at the check-in desk. 
Rabbi Rabinowitz replies, "Listen, if it was without my knowledge, how should I know?"

In this weeks parsha we read about the meraglim who slandered Eretz Yisrael. It is about my 40th time through this parsha in the yearly cycle [and I only started the cycle at age 41!!] and it hurts again each time. Hashem loves us and gave us this beautiful gift. A land that has all of the material and spiritual qualities one would want. Like being offered to marry a girl who is both rich and beautiful, smart and spiritual, with a great personality to match and you KNOW she is good because the shadchan is G-D HIMSELF!!! Yet you say NO WAY. NOT INTERESTED. BAD FIRST DATE. NOT MY TYPE. WAS LOOKING FOR AN EGYPTIAN GIRL NAMED SOMETHING LIKE ABAYOMI [means "bringer of happiness]. 

Eretz Yisrael is so good and sweet. Milk. Honey. A Land flowing with cell phones and start up hi-tech companies. A land with delicious produce and 3000 shuls in every frum neighborhood. I write from my study which has a view of GLORIOUS, GORGEOUS Jewish Israeli mountains [one's name is Tomer. The mountain to his right - Doron]. And tuition here costs next to nothing!!! And the meraglim say - no thanks and no thanks. We don't want to go. Too scary. Lots of "Arabs" [to be a bit anachronistic]. Even Hashem Himself can't take them down [כי חזק הוא ממנו]. OY VEY ZMIR!! 

This is a land of miracles!!!

Abe was visiting Israel for the first time. As soon as his plane landed, he got a taxi to take him to his hotel. The taxi driver was very friendly and told Abe all kinds of useful information. 
Then Abe asks the driver, "Say, is Israel a healthy place?" 
"Oh, yes, it really is," the driver answered, "When I first came here, I couldn't say even one simple word, I had hardly any hair on my head, I didn't have the energy to walk across a small room and I even had to be helped out of bed every day." 
"That's a remarkable story, truly amazing," Abe said, "so how long have you been here in Israel?" 
"I was born here."

But when you get such a gift the proper response is - THANK YOU LORD!!! WE'LL TAKE IT. Scary guys? Hashem took care of the Egyptians - these guys will be silly putty in His hands. But no. They didn't want it. 

When creating the world, God turned to the Angels and said: "Now I am going to create a land called Israel, it will be a land of mountains full of snow, sparkly lakes, forests full of all kind of trees, high cliffs overlooking sandy beaches with an abundance of sea life." 
God continued, "I shall make the land rich so to make the inhabitants prosper, I shall call these inhabitants Israeli, and they shall be known to the most people on earth." 
"But Lord, asked the Angels, don't you think you are being too generous to these Israelis?" 
"Not really, God replied, just wait and see the neighbors I am going to give them."

The gemara [Sotah 14] asks - Did Moshe want to go into Israel to eat the fruits [because even the fruits are holy - not to mention juicy]? "NO" answers the gemara. He wanted to go in in order to keep the mitzvos which are dependent on the land. 

It is generally understood that this refers to the mitzvos of separating terumos and maasros etc. But maybe there is more here. ALL mitzvos are dependent on the land. Shabbos. Shabbat. Tzitzis. Tzitzit. Kashrus. Kashrut. Learning Torah. Giving tzedaka. Honoring parents. Every last one of 'em [and however you pronounce them].

 רְאֵה לִמַּדְתִּי אֶתְכֶם, חֻקִּים וּמִשְׁפָּטִים, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוַּנִי, יְהוָה אֱלֹהָי:  לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן--בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ.

Mitzvos were given to be kept בקרב הארץ - in Israel. Moshe wanted to come to Israel in order to keep mitzvos in an ideal way.

Hashem answered [according to the gemara] "Don't sweat it. I will give you reward as if you kept them."

Meaning - you have such a yearning and desire to keep the mitzvos - that is enough for me and you will receive your reward. On the contrary - maybe once you get there and keep the mitzvos you won't have the same passion. As we know - EVERYTHING we really want grows old on us after a while and loses it's luster [anybody out there been married for more than 6 months??].

So BELOVED FRIENDS. If you live in Israel - AWE-SOME. I hope to live there too [that is why I do]. But if you don't because the circumstances of life prevent you from doing so  - don't sweat it [even though with the New York City summer humidity, you ARE sweating it]. Have a BURNING PASSION TO COME and that counts for lots. 

One day - we will ALL BE HERE.

[Inspired by Mei Marom Parshas Shelach]

Have a beautiful Shabbos Holy Sweet brothers and sisters!!!