I imagine those on my e-list are familiar with the Gaza-bound flotilla incident in Israel this past week - and also familiar with the smear tactics used by the worldwide media to "demonize" Israel and distort the truth. This is not a new story. In fact, it is a very old story. As Solomon so often said, "There is nothing new under the sun." Israel has always and will always be singled out as the nation that has no right to defend itself. We must remember that the prince of the world hates the God of Israel and the people who are in covenant with Him.
In this week's Torah portion we read again the story of the 12 spies being sent into the Promised Land to bring back a report. We know that 10 spies bring a terribly negative report, filled with fear, lacking all trust in their God. But two men display a "different spirit." Two men - Joshua and Caleb (interestingly one from Judah and one from Ephraim) - look at the Land through spiritual eyes, not worldly eyes. They see what the other 10 men could not see! They see the Beautiful Land that was promised to their forefathers - they see the future of a people belonging to God. Why could they see it and the other ten could not? I believe it is because these two faithful men valued their inheritance. They believed their Covenant-keeping God would surely conquer the "giants in the Land" and defeat all their enemies. He had promised them this - and they believed Him.
Here is what Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem had to say in making a thought-provoking comparison of this story from Numbers 13-14 and this past week's flotilla incident in Israel:
"When God subsequently tells Moses that the entire generation will die in the desert due to their faint-hearted response, save Joshua and Caleb, it wasn't intended as a reward for the two, but in recognition that only they possessed the very faith and the courage necessary to inherit the land. This week's episode of the terror flotilla that set sail for Gaza has afforded all the world's illustrious notables yet another opportunity to cynically and shamelessly trash Israel. Precisely today, when the entire world is clamoring to slander the nation of Israel, and speak ill of the land of Israel, and behave disparagingly toward the God of Israel, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to take a stand and speak boldly and forcefully, as did Joshua and Caleb, on behalf of the people, the land and the God of Israel. Only those that make their voices heard now, and cast their lot with Israel will make their mark in history, and likewise be noted by God, that they too, like His servant Caleb, are 'possessed by another spirit,' worthy of God's deliverance."
Amen! Shabbat Shalom!
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