December 13, 2018 ~ Shabbat VAYIGASH. Maqam BAYAT.

Shabbat Shelah - שבת שלח

Be The Man

כלם אנשים - “In a place where there are no men," Hillel teaches, "be the man” (Abot 2:5). When Moses dispatches spies to scout the Land of Canaan, the most prominent tribal leaders are selected. Numbers 13:3 writes “all are men” (כלם אנשים); presumably people of great authority, charisma, and stature. Ironically, of all twelve men, only two, Kaleb (Judah) and Joshua (Ephraim), exhibit leadership qualities by providing optimistic reports of the land and their ability to succeed in conquest. Unlike Joshua who has close ties to Moses, Kaleb, an individual with no strong ties to Moses, shows great courage by going completely against the majority of the nation (ויהס כלב את העם). Kaleb sees that he is in a place "where there are no men," and decides to step up and "be the man." Because of their abilities to be strong leaders when no one else would, Joshua and Kaleb both merit to become the only people from their generation to inherit the land. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 9, 2018.


עלה נעלה וירשנו אתה כי יכול נוכל לה - When the spies observe the inhabitants, the infrastructure, and even the fruits of Canaan, they grew intimidated; casting serious doubts about the nation's ability to move forward with the conquest. It was Kaleb Ben Yefune, the one "Jewish" spy (from the tribe of Judah), who saw the exact same obstacles and encouraged others to think more positively. When everyone else lost hope, Kaleb's lone voice of "we can certainly do it!" (Numbers 13:30) created an optimistic outlook on the difficult road ahead. Ten of the spies were eventually punished, not because they deemed the pending task as too difficult, but because they did not believe in the ability of God to deliver on His promise. We learn from this story that when faced with challenges in life, it is the Jewish way to trust in God and then have the confidence to move forward and not be dissuaded by doubts. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 17, 2017.