parasha Shelach 5782

“My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” – Numbers 14:24, JPS 1917 Tanach

When the Torah records that Caleb “had another spirit,” one view holds that he had two spirits, the one that he outwardly professed, while in the company of the ten spies, and the one that he held within his heart. According to Rashi, “in his heart he had the intention to tell the truth” (Rashi; Midrash Tanchuma, Sh’lach 10; sefaria.org).

This dual reality, of adherence to one’s inward voice, while making a pretense for the sake of self-preservation is not, on the part of Caleb, disingenuous, because of his intent to speak his mind, once he returned from the mission with his compatriot Joshua, who was also like-minded, in regard to encouraging the people with a positive report of the land. In other words, Caleb, spoke the truth in his heart, and he waited until the appropriate time to reveal that truth.

In our own lives, if we are clear on what we personally believe, then despite circumstances that might attempt to compel us in a different direction, we may remain steadfast and true within ourselves. One dramatic historical example concerns the anusim, who were forced to convert under duress to Catholicism, yet, secretly maintained their Judaism. Many anusim today, are returning to their Judaism in a prolific manner.

Currently, in modern society, there is pressure from many sides, “to toe the line,” in regard to the pseudo-morality of Wokism, and it Leftist agenda. While some have openly challenged this movement, others, concerned for their reputation or livelihood, have remained silent; the threat of intimidation, or being cancelled is real.

Yet, eventually, a line may need to be drawn, in the sand, so to speak, for each person, dependent on our willingness to remain true to our belief and practice. Thus, like both Caleb and Joshua, we may feel compelled to speak our truths, irrespective of the consequences (see Numbers 14:6-10).

parasha Bechukosai 5782 – Contentment & Inner Peace

If you follow My laws and faithfully observe My commandments, I will grant your rains in their season, so that the earth shall yield its produce and the trees of the field their fruit. Additionally, H’Shem promises that grain and vineyard harvests will provide a constant yield.

Then, a blessing of peace in the land is promised. Rashi comments, “peace counterbalances everything” (Sifra, Bechukotai, Ch. 18; sefaria.org). This may be understood to imply that without peace, there is no assurance of contentment with one’s provisions, resources, or means of livelihood.

Even relationships without peace, unfortunately can turn sour. And, ultimately, peace is desirable to contain the soul. The sages relate, that only peace serves as a vessel to contain all other blessings. Peace within, as well as without, will bring the ultimate completion of wholeness upon a person. Yet, sometimes, even peace within is most challenging to obtain.

A man can have much gain in the world, and security brought about by an abundance of material provisions, and a steady income; however, a peace that encompasses the soul is a greater treasure to obtain, and more challenging to acquire. As is written elsewhere, “Who is a rich man? He who is content with his lot” (Pirkei Avos).

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