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June 26, 1992 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-06-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

TORAH PORTION

Synagogue Dues for only $100?
Are you Kidding?

No Kidding! $100 will make you a
member at
Congregation B'nai Moshe
and it includes
High Holiday tickets!

If you are un-affiliated and are looking for a synagogue to join, look
no further. Become members for 1992-93 and we will throw in
the remainder of 1992 for only $100 and we will include
High Holiday tickets.

Our beautiful new synagogue in West Bloomfield is open
and once you see what we have to offer you and your family,
you won't want to be anywhere else.

Don't Delay! Join in the Fun!
This offer expires Sept 15, 1992.

For more information,
please call the synagogue office at 539-3060.
It just may be the best phone call you make this year.

- Congregation B'nai Moshe -

We're not just building a building...
...We're building a family.

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CENITURS
CAWACCENA
BUY—SELL—TRADE

-

38

FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1992

GO

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(3 Blks. South of 13 Mile)
Royal Oak

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DR. RICHARD C. HERTZ

Special to The Jewish News

E

spionage is as old as
the Bible. Every good
military commander
needs intelligence reports in
order to design strategy.
Moses was a great military
commander as well as
strategist.
In today's sedra we have an
exciting episode of Israel's
journey through the desert.
The children of Israel were
encamped near what is
known as the "wilderness of
Zin," not far from the
southern end of the Dead Sea.
The Israelites were ready to
enter the Promised Land.
Moses needed information
about the kind of country
they were about to enter. He
sent out 12 spies to bring him
information. What kind of
country was it? Without a
map, what were its borders?
What was its climate? What
was the condition of the soil?
The people? Were they arm-
ed? These were all normal
questions he needed
answered so that he could
plan his strategy.
The 12 spies disguised
themselves and scattered to
the four corners of the land.
They spent 40 days and 40
nights traversing Canaan, a
little country no more than
150 miles by 40. When they
returned, the 12 spies were
united in their opinion that it
was a great country, rich with
ripe fruits that they brought
back hanging from a long
pole carried by two of them.
Reports made it seem like a
land "flowing with milk and
honey."
The inhabitants were
farmers who lived in homes
and tilled the soil. They were
"men of great stature." Com-
pared to them, "we were like
grasshoppers," the spies
reported.

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ADVANCE
Pik CARPET CARE

The majority report of 10
spies suggested caution and
negative response. The people
ate up the majority report.
They panicked. They rebelled
against Moses and wanted to
turn around and return to the
fleshpots of Egypt.
The minority report offered
by Joshua and Caleb
recognized the possibilities of
success. Joshua and Caleb
were neither discouraged nor
afraid. Here the character of
Joshua is revealed as an in-
trepid and wise leader, who in
the future as a successor to

737-1670

Dr. Richard C. Hertz is rabbi
emeritus of Temple Beth El.

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The Promised Land
Requires Acts Of Faith

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Moses would be a man of deep
courage and a fearless
general.
As we read this story, we
are prompted to ask an ob-
vious question. "Why were
the spies sent at all?" God
had told Moses that the
children of Israel were going
to enter the land of Canaan
and that he would give it to
them. If that was God's
message, why would any
religious person like Moses
question it? The spies were
almost superfluous and in a
way demonstrated a lack of

Shabbat Shelach:
Numbers 13:1-15:41
Joshua 2:1-24.

faith and belief. Espionage
could have been a legitimate
concern for a secular leader,
but for Moses, who spoke to
God face-to-face, why the spies
at all?
The story tells us an impor-
tant message about Judaism
and our relationship to God.
Moses knew that no divine
act was going to overwhelm
the ancient Canaanites who
had settled in the land and
pruned it and planted it and
harvested it. Since Moses
could not enter the Promised
Land, there would be no one
to claim victory over the Ca-
naanites. A new leader would
have to raise an army, train
it, and then hope and pray
that God would answer his
prayers with success. Moses
knew that it would be up to
the Israelites to do what they
would have to do because God
helps those who help them-
selves.
The morality of displacing
peoples who had lived in Ca-
naan for generations was
never raised by the Torah.
Forcible displacement of the
Canaanites was to be an act
of God, for this land was the
Promised Land, promised to
the people of Israel. Occupa-
tion of the land was not a
moral issue, but the con-
tinued possession of the land
by the Israelites was to be a
moral trust. Israel would
keep the land as long as
Israel kept faith with God.
Only a righteous Israel was
entitled to inhabit the land,
for the land was holy.
This imposed an obligation
of moral living on the
children of Israel, something
not demanded of any other
nation in the world as a con-
dition. The Torah makes God
responsible for Israel's being
in the land. It makes Israel

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