Parshas Shlach – Eretz Yisroel is Acquired with Effort

Written by Rabbi Rudman, 16/6/2019

 This week we read Parshas Shlach, which is about our relationship with Eretz Yisroel. We learn about the Meraglim, both those who rejected the entrance to the Land and the two who desired to enter. But even after we learn that the generation of the Midbar was punished that they could not enter the land, the Parsha continues and we are taught Halachos of Eretz Yisroel, so that we can retain that connection that will ultimately come to fruition[1]. I would like to discuss a dichotomy we find in how to view this connection to Eretz Yisroel.

The Gemarra in Berachos[2] teaches that three gifts are given through Yisurin- trials and tribulations. They are: Torah, Eretz Yisroel, and Olam HaBa. But we seem to find something exactly the opposite. Each of those gifts are also described as an inheritance, as will show. Something acquired through Yisurin would seem to be something external to a person. But, an inheritance comes on its own, not through effort. So how do we reconcile these aspects of our relationship to these three gifts?

The Torah has six hundred thousand letters and was given to six hundred thousand members of the Jewish nation. Obviously it means that each person has their portion. And we as their descendants, continue to be connected to the portion that our forefathers received[3].

A portion of Eretz Yisroel is given to every member of the Jewish people at the time of the entrance into the land. And as the generations pass, those portions are further subdivided to each descendant as an inheritance from their forefather’s portion. Thus it is not acquired, but a part of our inheritance.

The Mishnah writes[4] that every Jew has a portion in Olam HaBa. So it is not something that is acquired, but a portion that every Jew has. So each of these gifts is actually an inheritance.

So we are faced with a seeming contradiction. Do we have a portion that is innately ours, or is it something we need to acquire it through trials and tribulations? To understand this, we need to go back to the creation of the world.

The Midrash writes[5] that when HaShem came to create Adam He created man from both the upper and lower realms, so there should be no disagreement in the world. This disagreement was how much of the world is from these two realms. On the first day HaShem’s creations were from both the upper and lower realms. The second and fourth day were from the upper realms; and the third and fifth were from the lower. Therefore, the sixth day needed to once again return to something created from both, so there should a balance in creation, and there should be Shalom.

In Bereishis, when the Torah counts the days of creation, there is a difference between the first day and all the others. All the days are counted as ordinal numbers, denoting their relationship to one another. “The Second”, “The Third”, etc. But the first day is described as “The One day”. This is to emphasize that on that day, there was no division in creation, all was a unity. [In Shacharis when we say the Shir Shel Yom, we do not follow this approach, but the first day is called “The First Day”, once again an ordinal number.] That is what the Midrash means, that on the first day there was a creation from the upper and lower realms. It was not two objects from two realms, but a creation that had Shalom within it, since it unified these two realms.

What changed on the second day was the creation of the Rakia; the separation between the upper and lower water. From this creation began the division of the world between upper and lower realms. Everything that was created on all the subsequent days could not heal this division. On the sixth day man was created. Man has the ability to unify the upper and lower realms, since he is created from both. That is not only something he can do, but that is the purpose for his existence. That is the idea of Shalom. It is an existence where there is harmony between all of its parts.

Chazal say[6] that when HaShem created the Rakia which separated between the upper and lower waters, the lower waters began to cry. They said, “We also desire to be before HaShem! Why should we be below?” That cry is the essential cry of creation. It is the desire to return back to the first day, and back to HaShem. That cry resonated throughout the days of creation, till man was created who has within himself both aspects and can bring to a reunification.

The S’fas Emes writes that the separation of the Rakia, creates the upper waters which are the spiritual source of the water, and the lower part which is the physical aspect of the water. That spiritual source is actually an angel. This is what Chazal teach us[7] that every blade of grass has an angel that smites it and commands it to grow. The angel is the upper water, and the blade of grass is the lower waters. The command to grow, is the natural outcome of something that wants to go back to its source.[8]

This idea is found in a fascinating Sefer of the Ramchal. He wrote a Sefer of five hundred and fifteen Tefilos. Each of them begins with the phrase, “God, One, Unique and a Unity”. Each Tefila ends with the phrase, “For your salvation I desired HaShem”[9]. That specific number is the amount of Tefilos which Moshe beseeched HaShem to allow him to enter Eretz Yisroel[10]. Moshe’s desire to enter Eretz Yisroel was to be able to be in the place of complete connection to HaShem, the land which HaShem desires at all times. These Tefilos of the Ramchal represent the source where all is One, and the desire to return to that state.

The essence of this idea is found a Drush of the Ramchal, called Drush HaKivui – The Clarification of Expectation.  This Drush of the Ramchal is based on the concept of Kivui. The understanding of this word is crucial to understanding the whole Drush. Kivui is connected to the word Tikvah- hope, and also to the word Kav – line. Tikvah is generally translated as hope. But actually in the context here and as the Ramchal explains in the various places it is used throughout the Torah, it is much more than hope. It is a sense of yearning, of a desire to return home, an aspiration to a place of unity and completion. It represents the fact that we all come from a source, and ultimately there is a desire to return to that source. The ultimate source of this idea is the creation and birth of a physical person with a Neshama that is sent down to this world with them. But the Neshama is sent to this world against its will, and desires to return to a place of Kedusha, pure and unsullied back in Shamayim where it came from. That hope is the basis of all true Avodas HaShem to allow that feeling and yearning to direct our lives and aspirations, and to not be undermined by false aspirations which try to misdirect us. That is the true Kivui. (The Drush with an English translation and explanation can be downloaded here.)

These two sides of creation, the Unity, and the separation, are true of all growth in spirituality. If there was not an original connection to the source, we would never be able to get there. But in order for there to be Avoda, there needs to be a separation and a process of return. So all of the gifts that Klal Yisroel receives have both of these aspects. They are a portion, and also need to be acquired through effort. If it was not a portion, we would be unable to reach it. But if there was no effort, there would be no Schar. That is what Chazal mean that the angel ‘smites’ the blade of grass. It is the Yisurin that brings about the growth.

That is what Eretz Yisroel specifically represents. It is the place where one can reach the innate connection that Klal Yisroel has to HaShem. But it is something difficult to achieve, so as to earn the Schar of reaching that connection.

One aspect of the sin of the Meraglim, was that all that they saw in Eretz Yisroel, they interpreted as insurmountable difficulties, rather than as an effort to acquire what is rightfully ours. Therefore, when they saw people dying, they said that the land consumes its inhabitants, rather than understanding that HaShem is helping their mission by distracting the inhabitants. If one sees the efforts needed to acquire the gifts as barriers rather than as a facilitating growth, then the task seems impossible. Our goal is to exert the effort to acquire the gifts. But also to realize that we do have an inheritance, and it is our birthright to acquire it. Therefore, we can redouble our efforts without being overwhelmed by the exertion required.

And as the Ramchal ends each of the Tefilos, “For Your salvation I yearn HaShem”.

[1]  שפת אמת – במדבר – פרשת שלח – שנת [תרנ”ב] – ולכן ניחם הקב”ה אותם במצות נסכים וחלה שלא יפול לבבם כאשר אותן הגדולים חפשו ולא מצאו כי ע”י אלו המצות ימצאו מתנת א”י

[2]  ברכות דף ה/א – תניא רבי שמעון בן יוחאי אומר שלש מתנות טובות נתן הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל וכולן לא נתנן אלא על ידי יסורין אלו הן תורה וארץ ישראל והעולם הבא

[3]  מגלה עמוקות על התורה – פרשת לך לך –  כי התורה היא ס’ רבוא אותיות כנגד ס’ רבוא נשמות של ישראל והקב”ה הבטיח למשה שיהי’ הוא כלול מס’ רבוא נשמות

[4]  מסכת סנהדרין פרק י – (א) כל ישראל יש להם חלק לעולם הבא, שנאמר (ישעיה ס) ועמך כלם צדיקים לעולם יירשו ארץ נצר מטעי מעשה ידי להתפאר.

[5]  מדרש רבה בראשית – פרשה יב – (ח) כל מה שאתה רואה תולדות שמים וארץ הן שנאמר בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ בשני ברא מן העליונים שנא’ ויאמר אלהים יהי רקיע בשלישי ברא מן התחתונים ויאמר אלהים תדשא הארץ ברביעי ברא מן העליונים ויאמר אלהים יהי מאורות בחמישי ברא מן התחתונים ויאמר אלהים ישרצו המים בששי בא לבראות את אדם אמר אם אני בורא אותו מן העליונים עכשיו העליונים רבים על התחתונים בריה אחת ואין שלום בעולם ואם אני בורא אותו מן התחתונים עכשיו התחתונים רבים על העליונים בריה אחת ואין שלום בעולם אלא הרי אני בורא אותו מן העליונים ומן התחתונים בשביל שלום הה”ד וייצר ה’ אלהים את האדם וגו’ עפר מן האדמה מן התחתונים ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים מן העליונים דאמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש (שם כה) המשל ופחד עמו עושה שלום במרומיו המשל זה גבריאל ופחד זה מיכאל:

[6]  תיקוני זהר דף יט/ב -והאי איהו מחלוקת שהיא לשם שמים, דאיהו סופה להתקיים, ולאעלא שלם ויחודא בתרוייהו, ולאו מחלוקת דפרודא, כגון מחלוקת קרח ועדתו באהרן, ומחלוקת האי דאיהו לשם שמים, בגין דמים תתאין אינון בוכין ואמרין אנן בעיין למהוי קדם מלכא עלת העלות, ובען לסלקא לעילא, רקיע אפריש ביניהן

[7]  מדרש רבה בראשית – פרשה י פסקה ו – א”ר סימון אין לך כל עשב ועשב שאין לו מזל ברקיע שמכה אותו ואומר לו גדל הה”ד (שם לח) הידעת חקות שמים אם תשים משטרו בארץ וגו’ לשון שוטר

[8]  שפת אמת – במדבר – פרשת שלח – שנת [תרנ”ה] – ורקיע רמז לתיקון הרוח שהוא בכח התורה והוא הממוצע בין נשמה לנפש ועליו כ’ יהי רקיע כו’ ויהי מבדיל בין מים למים. ולכן המלאכים ברקיע דכ’ עושה מלאכיו רוחות.

שפת אמת ליקוטים – פרשת בראשית – אימתי נבראו המלאכים כו’ בה’ כו’ ועוף יעופף כו’ לכאורה למאן דאמר בשני אתי שפיר כיון דהבדיל המים העליונים אז נברא למעלה המלאכי

שם משמואל – פרשת יתרו – שנת תרע”ב – והענין עפי”מ ששמעתי מכ”ק אבי אדמו”ר זצללה”ה דכמו שנאמר יהי רקיע בתוך המים, שהרקיע הנקרא שמים מבדיל בין המים העליונים למים התחתונים, כן הוא בכל עניני העולם העליון והעולם התחתון השמים מבדילים ביניהם ואינם מניחים את זה לבוא בגבול זה, עכת”ד.

[9]  אל יחיד ומיוחד מי יעמיד לנגדך, …והיה ה’ למלך על כל הארץ ביום ההוא יהיה ה’ אחד ושמו אחד. לישועתך קויתי ה’:

[10]  ילקוט שמעוני דברים – פרק לא – המשך רמז תתקמ -ומנין שהתפלל משה תקט”ו פעמים שנאמר ואתחנן אל ה’ מנין ואתחנ”ן הכי הוו


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