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by Daneal Weiner

After Israel had lost faith in Moshe’s words and were condemned to die in the desert Hashem tells Moshe saying(15:2), “Speak to Israel say to them: Ki savo’u el erets moshvosaichem- when you will come into the land of your dwelling places.” This is the introduction for instructions for bringing the wine offerings. Immediately after comes the mitsva for separating the challah from the bread dough.

Parshas Shelach

Is a Shabbos m’vorchim- a Shabbos when welcome the new month which will begin that week. That new month is Tamuz. Tamuz and Av we know to be a time of destruction. On our opening verse Rashi says, “Beiser lahem sheyikansu la’arets”- He told them they will enter the land. Rashi used beiser rather than seiper, amar or hegid which are all the typical expressions for telling something over. The word beiser we say in grace after meals, “vivasair lanu b’soros tovos”- he [Elijah the Prophet] will proclaim good tidings. He will herald in the coming of the mashiach. In fact, the word “beiser” and “b’soros” are from the same root! So beiser isn’t just “He told them.” It’s more like, “You wanna hear great news!?” The parsha which welcomes Tamuz is a parsha which is beiser b’soros tovos for Israel, proclaims good tidings for Israel.

The sefer Zera Kodesh brings that the word Shelach = 338 = 13 x 26 which is 13 times the 4 letter Name of Hashem. 13 is a significant number because it reminds us of the 13 Attributes of Mercy of Hashem. Those very attributes Moshe calls upon in this parsha to keep Hashem from wiping out all Israel and starting over with Moshe. Shelach is beiser to the Children of Israel that they will enter the Land of Israel.

Rav Moshe Wolfson says we have to wonder what the great news is? Don’t get him wrong, (especially when I’m doing the writing) it is certainly great news that we will enter the land of Israel. But we’ve heard it a number of times already. It was a promise Hashem made to our ancestors! And furthermore, it’s not they who are entering Israel. It’s their children. And we heard that already as well. So what was added this time that makes different than all that we’ve heard already?

In the Midrash Tannah D’vei Eliyahu he writes, “At that moment Hashem said to Moshe, ‘Go and appease these poor people whose hearts have sunken.’ Moshe asked, ‘With what shall I appease them?’ Hashem answered Moshe, ‘Go and appease them with words of Torah. As it says, “Speak to Israel say to them: Ki savo’u el erets moshvosaichem- when you will come into the land of your dwelling places.”’”

A verse in King Solomon’s Koheles says (9:7), “Go and eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a glad heart.” The Midrash on this verse says, “‘Eat your bread with joy’ is the challah and ‘drink your wine with a glad heart’ is the wine offering because Hashem is already desiring the deeds of Israel when they enter the land. Rav Wolfson last question is why did King Solomon advanced the challah from the bread before the wine when Hashem had commanded them in the reverse order?

We’ve said many time before that space, time and soul are all relative. Just as there is a time of the year which is a time of destruction, so too is there a place and a soul. Correlating to Tamuz and Av are the Generation of the Desert. A generation destined to destruction. As it says in Psalms 106:23-27, “He said he would destroy them… had not Moshe turned away His wrath… they despised the desirable land, they had no faith in His word… Then He lifted up His hand against them [in oath] to cast them down in the wilderness and to cast their descendants and to scatter them among the lands.” When Israel cried that night that the Spies had returned, he cry for naught, Hashem promised they would be given a reason to cry on that day. That day, as we know, was the 9th of Av. What happened to that generation in the realm of the souls is what happened to Tamuz and Av in realm of time.

Breishis- In the beginning. In the Gemorah Succah our Sages say Breishis is a contraction of barah shis- He created the shis- the Shisia stone. The Shisia stone to the world correlates to the single cell from which a person is created. The Gemorah uses the same root in the word Shisin. Rashi there says the shisin was a hollow under the alter where the poured offerings would gather.

On the 6th day of creation Hashem separated a challah, He gathered a portion of dirt from all over the world and kneaded it with the dirt of the Temple Mount to form Adam. So the wine and the challah are both connected to Reishis. We might think they are reparation for the sin of the spies, having been commanded immediately thereafter, but these sacrifices are a connection to reishis, to the world and to Adam when they were in their most pristine state of existence. This is a tremendous comfort in this parsha of good tidings that Hashem is giving us mitsvos which connect us to our purest roots. Hashem is letting us know that we will eventually get back to those roots and to that undefiled state of existence.

Not only this! Holy writings say that in the time of the Mashiach the generation of the Desert will be reincarnated at that time! That very generation which brought on destruction will again live in the days of the Mashiach, who will build the Temple, and they will be the ones to make the reparations. This is the new great news not heard before! Till now ‘you’ will be brought into the land meant ‘you descendants of Avraham,’ whoever they might be. Now ‘you’ means ‘specifically you’! Hashem said he will bring them in and He meant them, the generation he took out of Egypt!

Now we understand the end of the Midrash which said Hashem is already desiring the deeds of Israel when they enter the land. As soon as he sealed their fate not to enter he commanded the Wine and Challah in anticipation of their return. Then that generation of destruction will become a generation of redemption. And, of course, as we know from the prophets, Tamuz and Av will also revert from a time of mourning to a time of rejoicing. Gevaldik!

Just when we thought we heard it all, by the introduction of the challah where it says, again, “when you come into the land,” Rashi says, “This time it’s different than every other time.” Here we go again!! What’s different? Rashi explains that every other time a similar expression for entering is used. This means that any specific laws learned in one place can be applied to other laws learned at a different place. The similar expression ties them all together. Furthermore, since one of those places taught the law will not take affect until after the land is conquered and settled, therefore NO laws of the land of Israel will not take affect until after the land is conquered and settled. But here is different! Having a singularly unique expression by the challah teaches that only it will take affect as soon as Israel crosses the Jordan. No conquering and settling necessary.

This is even more comfort to Israel that whereas their settling of Israel had to be a reality for the other mitsvos, for challah only the potential for their settling the land is enough. The reality exists even before it happens. And this is why challah was held followed even outside Israel. Because our Sages sat that in the days to come Israel will spread out the world over. Due to that potential, everywhere the Jew, wherever he/she may be is already in the land and can begin to separate challah.

Rav Wolfson suggests this is why King Solomon reversed their order. Whereas the Torah listed them according to a priority, Koheles brought them as mitsvos of comfort. And since the challah we do now and can feel now it is foremost in its comfort. For the wine we will have to wait, like the other such mitsvos, till we are settled in the land.

And so Ki savo’u el erets moshvosaichem = 1579 = v’nachal Hashem es Yehudah chelko…uvachar ode biYerushalayim- Hashem will take Yehudah as His heritage… and he will choose Jerusalem again (Zechariah 2:16). The month of Tamuz- Hachodesh Tamuz = 776 = Bi’as hamashiach- the coming of the messiah. Bimhairah biyamainu!

Bake big challahs this week, take off challah for Hashem and have an at home aliyah l’arets and a comforting Shabbat Shalom!

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