Shabbat Parashat Shelach| 5770
Parashat Hashavuah: Spies Without TzitzitHarav Yosef Carmel
Parashat Shelach starts with the story of the spies and ends with the mitzva of tzitzit. While much has been written about each topic, we will try to connect the lessons of each. First let us show powerful linguistic proof of the connection. The spies were sent latur (explore) and “to see what the Land is.” Regarding tzitzit the Torah says: “Lo taturu (you shall not explore) after your heart and your eyes,” but rather, “it will be as tzitzit, and you will see it and remember.” It is thus clear that tzitzit is intended to remedy that which was ruined by the spies.
The Meshech Chochma said the following about the mitzva of tzitzit. Hashem created the lower world and left it in the hands of man, who has free choice, in order that he should complete the creation and raise it to a higher level. If man chooses a straight path of following Hashem’s mandates, then nature can be a tool for the Divine Providence to allow the world to expand its powers greatly. When one makes good choices, he improves the physical world and connects it to its Maker. As true as this is anywhere in the world, it is all the more true in Eretz Yisrael. The higher the spiritual level of its inhabitants, the more the spiritual powers of the Land become revealed. As such, rules of nature, as apply elsewhere in the world, are not fully relevant in Eretz Yisrael. (Even David Ben Gurion realized that miracles are part of the nature of the Land.)
The Meshech Chochma continues that the mitzva of tzitzit demonstrates that the world is like a garment that has strings on the sides that have not yet been weaved in. On these we have ties and hanging strings. In doing the work of incorporating goodness, it is necessary to have Hashem’s help. Doing mitzvot in the world ties one to Hashem, and wherever one is and in all situations a mitzva is available. This makes a person a partner with Hashem in the creation of genesis.
The spies surveyed the world and concluded that, based on natural earthly probabilities, Bnei Yisrael’s plan to enter Eretz Yisrael was reckless. They ignored the spiritual challenge posed by the Land, which, if done properly, uncovers powers in the nation and the Land that make the success attainable. They ignored the responsibilities that free choice placed upon them. Tzitzit remind us of this idea. The world that the garment represents hides the light. Placing the tied fringes on the unfinished garment is the right way to deal with the challenge. The techelet colored strings are reminiscent of the sea, which resembles the sky, which resembles the throne of glory (Sota 17a). When you ignore the material things that catch the eye and look for the Divine throne, one can uncover the hidden light under the garment.
Let us just add that the entry into Eretz Yisrael and the struggle to control are long ones, which require a lot of work and patience. Only if we decide to continue the work of “weaving” and making knot after knot will we have the strength to deal with the challenges.
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This week’s Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
R' Meir ben