Israel Forever

For the week ending 25 June 2005 / 18 Sivan 5765

No Such Word in Divine Dictionary

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Jews in Israel are often faced with problems for which it seems there are no solutions. Sometimes it is the implacable hatred of our neighbors and sometimes it is the bitter dissension within our people over political issues.

As we listen this Shabbat to the reading of the weeks portion about the scouts whom Moshe sent to spy out the Land promised to the Jewish people, it is important for us to internalize the lesson to be learned from it. Our ancestors lost the privilege of entering this Land and were forced to wander for forty years in the wilderness because they gave credence to the slanderous report of those scouts.

But why was their report considered to be slanderous? Did they not say that it flowed with milk and honey and did they not display its rich fruits? The answer lies in one word effes. This is the word they used as an introduction to the military reconnaissance side of their report. Effes means it is impossible to overcome the mighty forces and fortresses of the inhabitants of the Land.

In the dictionary of the Divine there is no room for such a word because He is capable of everything. Ascribing to the Omnipotent One a lack of ability to overcome any obstacle is heresy and both the scouts and their misled audience paid a heavy price for doing so.

Despite all the problems which face us, we must never sink to the despair of effes and retain our faith in Heavenly protection for Israel forever.

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