I am not a scholar in residence and most shules will not have me. Perhaps only because of what I give testimony to, what I dare do and what I dare say- The truth. In truth or dare you normally have a choice- But when Hashem has actually chosen for you, you call it something else. When you dare to explore it, live it and then proclaim it for all to know; you would like to boldly shout it from the rooftops but there will only be but a remnant who will heed this call, your trumpet blow. The walls of Jericho will fall away, and largely most will hear but not listen, see but not look, witness but not take a stand. The sea will literally split for you and you will walk on dry land into the Promised Land but many will look back and turn into a pillar of salt, preferring it that way. It’s been that way from time immemorial. This Torah portion we read about the sin of the spies. I would like to apply the lesson not learnt from it to the West Bank Pseudo, clearly the greatest bogus ever created on the globe and the spies who live today in a ten against two reality – yes- now as Israel reveals herself to the world.
The Six Day War was by far the greatest miracle to ever take place in all times. The bitter enemies of Israel conspired and equipped themselves in great numbers to flush the Jews into the sea once and for all. All demonic oppositions joined forces to finally erase the Jews and they made a point of letting the whole world know. Only, in just a few days- six to be exact, they found themselves running back into their rat tunnels and set asunder like the wind, abandoning their evil plan. As they scattered, we were being collected, as they profaned, we made holy. As they cursed, our ancient language came alive. They were like grasshoppers – we like giants. They carried out their casualties, thousands upon thousands ——-We were like dreamers sowing in tears and reaping in joy as the desecrated holy sites became restored. We won the war when the odds were against us.
It didn’t take long till the Spies gave their evil report.
To tell the truth is to dare. It’s to stand on one side while the whole world it seems stands on the other. Like Abraham. And Abraham was tested all through his journey and dedication to faith. Hashem dared him and he was first to know truth.
And like Yosef, the dream was not recognized. In fact- the return to biblical Israel was shunned by the greater part of our brothers, let alone the world. As if there was no attack in 1948, as if there were no pogroms in Chevron Tzefat Jerusalem and other places in Israel in 1929, WAY BEFORE 1967, a new mantra had everyone saying the return to our ancient sites was flawed. All major Jewish organizations from Ultra- Orthodox to Conservative Temples to Reform, Reconstructionists- all the different streams in the coat of many colors that Zion was to wear became dipped in the blood of deception, Jewish blood of victims- many who were my friends and people I loved. The ones that had come to honor Israel became the scapegoat. The Jewish Federations sided with the enemy and said in order to have peace we had to defect, to go back into the wilderness. The scheme fit many- the Rabbis of Brooklyn who adored life in the shtetyls of our cursed exile, the pulpit congregations so entrenched in diaspora. Yosef was shunned and when his territory was burned to the ground as soon as “The Peace Process” went under way- he- tartey mashma- was thrown into the pit and sold by his brothers. Precious Jewish homes were destroyed, thriving hothouses and business all bulldozed down as a master plan for achieving peace in the Middle East depended on Jewish self- destruction. “G-d, please do not cover Your face!” we begged. “Please do not give them guns!” we cried. The Times magazine featured a settler toting an M16 on its front cover- THIS – it said is the real worry. A Jewish man trying to protect his family from the chaos of Oslo. They didn’t bat an eyelash if only to sneer us down and know like King Saul to have a change of heart, a seizure of complete madness- a desire to see us fall.
The spies were sent out to scout the Land but they brought an evil report, not recognizing the true goal of Hashem in setting up His home as an eternal covenant with Israel. The Land was good- very good- but they “maastem beEretz Chemdah.”- They did not say things as they were but they gave THEIR OWN INTERPRETATION TO SUIT THEIR OWN NEEDS. This caused a serious lack of trust in Hashem fulfilling His promise on the part regular people influenced by blind bias. The blind led the blind.
The spies and that generation perished and never entered the Land.
The late 1990’s saw a Sin of the Spies phenomenon that we reel from till this very day. Widows and orphans, maimed and homeless…..Nonetheless, the few that stood in the hands of the many dared and their truth blossomed. The rocks thorns and dry heat and obstacles like terror arson and neglect gave way to canopies of grapes, green farmland, cinnamon and allspice. Israel’s heartland found a way to overcome and prevail ; the olive oil pours, the honey delicious, the homes beautified, the communities fortified.
Hashem is asking to look around. To choose. To dare. To search and find. Fifty years – our jubilee. It is time to wake up and leave the desert. I don’t think most shules would be happy to hear this blog but I dare them to .