Israel Forever

For the week ending 24 June 2006 / 28 Sivan 5766

The Secret Agenda

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

One of the great mysteries of Jewish history challenges us in this week’s Torah portion.

On the way to entering the Land promised to the Patriarchs, the Jewish People come to their leader with a request that he send spies to scout the Land for them. A leading member of each tribe is sent on this mission, and ten of them return with a slanderous report to discourage the people from trying to conquer what they describe as the invincible inhabitants of the Land. As a result of the lack of faith in the Divine promise, expressed in their gullibly accepting this slanderous report, the people are condemned to wander in the wilderness for 40 years and to die there.

What was the motive for these spies to malign the Holy Land and discourage the people from inheriting it?

In one of our sacred sources we find the solution to this mystery.

These ten spies were afraid that upon entering the Land there would be a reorganization of tribal leadership that could lead to their losing their positions of authority. Their personal agenda was placed above the national one and brought tragedy upon the people.

This should serve as a powerful lesson for Jewish leaders today to carefully examine themselves to ascertain that their personal agendas do not get in the way of their securing Israel forever.

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