Shabbos Parashas Shelach – June 20, 2020

Shabbos Parshas Shelach – June 20, 2020
Joseph Greenbaum Bar Mitzvah – Parshas Shelach 2015
For Want of Cholent – Thank you Rabbi Rael Blumenthal
Toras Yonatan Glenner
Meshech Chochma on the Sin of the Spies


Rabbi Yonatan Glenner and his Uncle (myself)

The Spies Reporting Back to Moshe:

What a great bar Mitzvah:  Joseph with his parents


The Meshech Chochma – Rabbi Meir Simcha of  Dvinsk:
The Meshech Chochma – Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk

It is after Shabbos and I am decompressing from Shabbos.  I seem to always be tired and I am having back problems.

I did not speak this Shabbos and I am upset at myself.  I saw a beautiful Meshech Chochma, which I will write about later in this post.

Parshas Shleach was Joseph Greenbaum’s Bar Mitzvah.  He has special needs.  I merited to be at his Bar Mitzvah.  That Shabbos morning, the  Shul was packed, every seat taken.  Close to 1,000 people were in Shul.   The energy in the Shul was electric.   Joseph’s cousin from Raanana, Israel davened a beautiful Schachris.  It was time for Joe, as he is known, to be called up to the Torah and his Aliyah.  He was perfect.  I still can picture the family with Dr. Landa and Rabbi Efreim Goldberg dancing with Joe around the bima.  I remember  Rabbi Efreim Goldberg’s great speech.  He started with saying that while he was shopping a few years ago, Joe had come over to him and said hello.   Later that night Joe’s mother, Dr. Laura Greenbaum, called Rabbi Efreim Goldberg and said that you witnessed a miracle.   Joe has proxia and cannot speak.   I can close my eyes and be at the Bar Mitzvah.  The family is blessed to live in the great community of Boca Raton Synagogue. 

This Shabbos morning I walked with Serka to my daughter Rivkie to drop off salad.  They live 1.3 miles from us.  Afterwards,  I went to my apartment to learn.  It did not seem like a long time, but when I picked up my head from learning and made it to the garage Minyan by Sidney, it was 10:20 AM and they were already  by Chazaras Hashatz.     

Went home and made Kiddush,  My wife makes great avocado and I enjoyed.  After my meal, I went to Yonatan’s house for Cholent.  I had told my wife not to make Cholent.  I just needed a taste and I did not want her to make Cholent as I and my son would overeat.  More importantly, I wanted to speak Torah with Yonatan.  I also wanted to discuss a Meshech Chochma with Yonatan.  

I must have Cholent on Shabbos, even a taste.  Rabbi Rael Blumenthal of Boca Raton West in his Shiur on Pershim vs. Tzadukim said that Chazal said we should have hot food such as Cholent on Shabbos to show the Tzadukim that we do not follow them and that they are wrong.  The Tzadukim do not  have hot food on Shabbos at all.  Rabbi Blumethal said in his unique British accent that if you take a second bowl of Cholent and your wife says, it is too much, respond to her that it is a Mitzva!

Boruch Hashem Serka did not make Cholent and Boruch Hashem I heard Rabbi Blumenthal say, It is a Mitzva.  I went to Yonatan’s house and the following magical moment occurred.

I started discussing with Yonatan what Rabbi Moshe Revah of HTC was saying in Shiur.  I told him my question on “Derech Makom Patur ” mentioned in the top Tosefes on 101A – “Rabbi Yehuda”  and how Rabbi Revah and the Shiur answered my  question. Yonatan followed my question and answer.   I was happy just with this.   Then I told him Rabbi Revach’s Shiurim, on 101A – 101B, the Seguya of Mechitza Teluya (hanging partition), גּוּד אַחֵית מְחִיצָתָא, and גְּדָיִים בּוֹקְעִין בָּהּ. I was pleasantly surprised that Yonathan knew the Sugya.  Then Yonatan lit the fireworks and pulled out the howitzer.


Yonatan opened his Sefer on Eruvim and in the Sefer was an entire Chapter on this Sugya.  Exciting.   In the Sefer he discussed the Machlokes between the Chazon Ish and the Shulchan Aruck Harav, the Ritva, and other Torah. The Sefer discussed the Chidushim  of Rabbi Revah brought up and many of his finer points in the Sugyah.  We went back and forth in learning for about an hour.  The chapter  was essentially a review of Rabbi Revah’s Shiurim. For me it was a special moment and time will always be frozen in his house at his table.  I merited to learn with my nephew, some very deep and involved Torah.   Later on Shabbos I walked to Rabbi Revah’s  house.  He had the Sefer and we went through Yonatan’s Torah on Sugya.  Wow.

After Rabbi Revah’s I went to Eichestein’s to learn with my Chavrusa.  I got caught in a downpour and got somewhat soaked.  Someone gave me a plastic bag so my torso did not get fully soaked.   He cut open a hole for my head,  I have to find out if I did wrong. 

I learned with my Chavrusa, Shabbos 107A-107B – the 14th perek of Shabbos – Shemona Sherutzim.

I found the Gemorah difficult as it was back and forth.  I told my Chavrusah that I have to write the Gemora down just to understand the back and forth.    He said that  you need working memory for these types of Gemoras.  I said, you are correct, I believe that I do not have working memory.   In college, I would read a paragraph and by the time I got to the second paragraph I forgot the first.   I was able to overcome this in College, but I remember this bothering me for years and having difficulty comprehending.  I told this to Rabbis Twersky and Eisnbach and they dismissed it. 

My Torah on this week’s Parsha.

Parshas Shleach is always a very difficult Parsha.  Why did the spies go wrong and what happened.  Why did they want to go against God.   Even after learning all the Meforshim, I have the same question year after year.

Rashi opens up Parshas Shelach with the following:

SEND THOU MEN — Why is the section dealing with the spies put in juxtaposition  the section dealing with Miriam’s punishment? To show the grievousness of the spies’ sin: because she (Miriam) was punished on account of the slander which she uttered against her brother, and these sinners witnessed it and yet they did not take a lesson from her (Midrash Tanchuma, Sh’lach 5 .

The actual events unfolded as follows.   First  the rebellion of Korah, then Miriam, then the Spies.  After the rebellion of Korah, shouldn’t the Beni Yisroel  have learned from the Korech incident that Moshe is Hashem’s leader and Hashem’s spokesman, the power of God, and what happens to rebels?   Additionally, the spies through their slander wanted to effect a change in God’s plans. It was different than  Miriam and Aaron who did not mean to harm Moshe, it was in private and more of a criticism.    The spies deliberately planned a coup and seemed to want to change God’s mind by saying it is too much for us.   They  knew that Hashem wanted them to go to Israel and they said no, we do not want to go.  By Korach it was a question of leadership, the opponents of Moshe wanted power, and not directly go against Hashem.   

This is all despite seeing the miracles in Egypt, the redemption, the destruction of the Egyptian army, the revelation of the Torah, the Mun. and all the miracles in the desert.

We were not there so we cannot fully understand what happened.

Another question that I always bring up.  Didn’t Moshe know that the natives were restless, the children of Israel tested God many times.  There was the running away from Har Sinai, the Salav, and Korah.  Perhaps the answer is aside from these rebels and a few troublemakers the people by and large were loyal and the atmosphere was upbeat.

There are three different approaches as to the end game of the spies.

  1. Satmar Rebbe – they know that Moshe and they were not going into israel.  They thought they were to be the catalyst.   The way the Satmer explains they knew that they and Moshe would not go into Israel.. Perhaps they felt that they were doing God’s wishes.   
  1. They wanted a purely spiritual life to continue that they were having in the desert, and not have a  life of turmoil, toil, and hardship.  Added to this that perhaps they also felt inadequate to be both spiritual and work at the same time.   They were not going against God, but showing God that we are not up to the job.  Let our kids do  it.
  1. They were going to lose power once they got to Israel and for purely selfish reasons they opposed and turned the peoples hearts against God.  This I feel almost makes not sense.

     4) The Meshech Chochma adds a 4th explanation which is just the opposite of above.  They knew

and believed the prophecy of Eldad and Medad that Moshe will die and Yehoshua will take the people into Israel.  They feared and acted on their fear that without Moshe’s leadership the entry into Israel will fail and they have to stay in the desert under Hashem’s benevolence.

Other Thoughts:

The spies saw a great land and they concluded land that they and perhaps Hashem cannot overcome the people of Canaan.  They saw a land that fruits that were huge, other great features and they looked at it and said this land is unconquerable.  They said, yes, it is a land flowing with milk and honey.  Then they used  אֶ֚פֶס –  but . .  

Two people can see the same thing but understand it differently.  I went with my boss, Jack, to look at real estate for Howard, a customer of the bank in Uptown, an area that had been down and out for a long time and had started improving.  Jack, my boss, took pictures of the graffitti and I saw the potential for Howard to build wealth.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Reb Aaron Kotler and others saw in America the potential to become a great country for Torah and Orthodoxy.  Others saw the potential demise of Orthodoxy in America.  At that time in the mid 40s and 50’s the Conservative and Reform movements were in their ascendancy and the future of Orthodoxy questioned.   

וַיְסַפְּרוּ־לוֹ֙ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ בָּ֕אנוּ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֣ר שְׁלַחְתָּ֑נוּ וְ֠גַם זָבַ֨ת חָלָ֥ב וּדְבַ֛שׁ הִ֖וא וְזֶה־פִּרְיָֽהּ׃ אֶ֚פֶס כִּֽי־עַ֣ז הָעָ֔ם הַיֹּשֵׁ֖ב בָּאָ֑רֶץ וְהֶֽעָרִ֗ים בְּצֻר֤וֹת גְּדֹלֹת֙ מְאֹ֔ד וְגַם־יְלִדֵ֥י הָֽעֲנָ֖ק רָאִ֥ינוּ שָֽׁם׃

This is what they told him: “We came to the land you sent us to; it does indeed flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. But, the people who inhabit the country are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large; moreover, we saw the Anakites there.  You know you are in trouble when the speaker uses the word, but . . .

In the 1870s  and 1880s when the secular Zionist movement started, these individuals who had no connection to Torah, saw  malaria,  swamp infested land, a land without industry, a sleepy land that on the surface could not support a large amount of Jews.  Yet, they saw past the flaws and saw a land flowing with milk and honey.  Opposite of the spies.  This is why my Zedi, the Pilaver Rebbe in his Sefer Shalom Yerushalayim felt that the entire Zionist  movement  was directed by God, to bring the Jews to Israel, and ultimately to bring Moshiach.



The Meshach Chocmah:

Translation of the Meshech Chochma:

On Verse 13:30 – וַיַּ֧הַס כָּלֵ֛ב אֶת־הָעָ֖ם אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר עָלֹ֤ה נַעֲלֶה֙ וְיָרַ֣שְׁנוּ אֹתָ֔הּ כִּֽי־יָכ֥וֹל נוּכַ֖ל לָֽהּ׃

Caleb hushed the people before Moses and said, “Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.”

The Meshach Chocma says:

The spies were afraid because they heard Eldad and Medad (Verse 11:28) prophesying  that Moshe will die and Yehsuhus will take the Jews into Israel (Sanhedrin 17B).  They saw Moshe not rebuking Eldad and Medad by not telling them to stop,  This was a sign that Eldad and Medad prophecy was truthful.  They felt to enter a fortified land, and fight with Amelak, a nation they already battled, and to fight with the giants in Israel without Moshe would result in tragedy and everyone being killed.  

Therefore Caleb quieted the people, by telling them, the fact that you attribute the wonders to Mose is wrong, just the opposite, the miracles were dependent on the Jews themselves.  Caleb said we will go up without Moshe, because Moshe is not the cause of wonders, but it is the Jewish nation themselves who are fitting for  God’s divine providence.  

This is what Yehusya told the people under his leadership in Yeshuya 3:10

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ בְּזֹאת֙ תֵּֽדְע֔וּן כִּ֛י אֵ֥ל חַ֖י בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וְהוֹרֵ֣שׁ יוֹרִ֣ישׁ מִ֠פְּנֵיכֶם אֶת־הַכְּנַעֲנִ֨י וְאֶת־הַחִתִּ֜י וְאֶת־הַחִוִּ֗י וְאֶת־הַפְּרִזִּי֙ וְאֶת־הַגִּרְגָּשִׁ֔י וְהָאֱמֹרִ֖י וְהַיְבוּסִֽי׃

By this,” Joshua continued, “you shall know that a living God is among you, and that He will dispossess for you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites:

The explanation of  כִּ֛י אֵ֥ל חַ֖י is that it was not Moshe did all the miracles, but it was God who lives forever.  He  will perform miracles now.  



2 thoughts on “Shabbos Parashas Shelach – June 20, 2020

  1. Jeremy Schwartz

    If your back is hurting, tell R’ Yonatan Glenner to bring you to his CrossFit gym so you can strengthen your back and get some good exercises in. It’s an excellent gym, I visited a few times.

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