From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/shlach-lcha
Sh’lach L’cha (שְׁלַח-לְךָ — Hebrew for “Send [Notables to Scout the Land]”) – Num. 13:1−15:41
The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying, “Send emissaries to scout the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelite people; send one man from each of their ancestral tribes, each one a chieftain among them.” – Numbers 13:1-2
- Moses sends twelve spies to the Land of Israel to report on the inhabitants and the country. Despite the positive report of Joshua and Caleb, the people are frightened. (13:1–14:10)
- God threatens to wipe out the Children of Israel but relents when Moses intercedes on their behalf. To punish the people, God announces that all those who left Egypt would not enter the Land of Israel except for Joshua and Caleb. (14:11–45)
- Moses instructs the Israelites regarding setting aside challah, the observance of the Sabbath, how to treat strangers, and the laws of tzitzit. (15:1–41)
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/shlach-lcha
By: Beth Ellen Young
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Numbers.13.1-15.41
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
שלח לך Sh’lach L’cha – Numbers 13:1–15:41
Sending Scouts and Challenging Leaders by Nili Sacher Fox, p. 869
PARASHAT SH’LACH L’CHA (“Send for yourself”) continues the theme in Numbers of challenges to Moses’ leadership. In the previous parashah, Miriam and Aaron challenge Moses’ leadership (Numbers 12); here, several tribal leaders–and ultimately the populace–do so. The parashah opens with the Israelites apparently nearing the end of their wilderness trek as they prepare to enter Canaan from the south. In anticipation of the invasion, Moses chooses scouts to reconnoiter Canaan. The goal of the expedition is twofold: to assess the strength of the indigenous populations and the strongholds in which they reside, and also to investigate the productivity of the land. One could argue that the venture is superfluous, since God has already ordained the conquest of Canaan by Israel. Seemingly, the objective is to test the faithfulness of the scouts and the Israelites as a whole.
The theme of rebellion at the heart of this parashah centers on the events in Numbers 13–14: the reconnaissance of Canaan, the scouts’ report, the Israelites’ response, and God’s reaction. The keys to the story and subsequent wilderness accounts are the negativity expressed about the mission by ten of the twelve scouts as well as by the populace, and the consequences of that attitude. Only two scouts, Caleb and Joshua, remain enthusiastic about entering the Promised Land, thereby demonstrating trust in God. The sin of faithlessness, exemplified by the majority, threatens the extermination of all Israel. Only Moses’ intercession, coupled with God’s mercy, saves the people, but not without a heavy price: condemnation to forty years of wandering and certain death for the entire wilderness generation.
The remaining portion of the parashah (15:1–41) focuses on a variety of laws, mostly relating to the sacrificial system. The delineation of laws is interrupted by a case study involving the willful breaking of the law: the desecration of Shabbat. The parashah then ends with the commandment to wear “fringes” (tzitzit) on one’s garments as a reminder to obey God’s laws. Notably, all these laws, even that of the tzitzit, are designated for all Israel–and apparently are inclusive of women. Otherwise, there is no explicit attention to women or to issues specifically relating to them. For implicit issues concerning women, see … the sacrificial food such as the challah (bread dough offering, 15:19–21) [“baking bread would have been a woman’s daily chore”]. Another indirect way to consider the roles of women in this parashah is to compare the story of the scouts in the parshah with the narrative involving Rahab the prostitute and scouts in Joshua 2 [this week’s Haftarah]….
Another View – by Rachel Havrelock, p. 886
THE SCOUTS DISPATCHED to investigate the nature of the Promised Land have suffered from a bad reputation. The Torah and the commentators blame them for one generation’s loss of the land, for forty years of wandering through the wilderness, and for Moses’ untimely demise just beyond the border of the land. The ten scouts, however, can be seen in a different light.
When they commence their reconnaissance mission, all that the scouts and the people of Israel have heard of their destination is that God promised it to their ancestors, that it flows with milk and honey, and that it is populated by other peoples. The scouts’ uncertainty as to whether Israel really belongs in its Promised Land results from their lack of knowledge and familiarity with this place. They experience Canaan through the filter of God’s description and probe its veracity more than they investigate the landscape. Because they are unable to find evidence that legitimates God’s promise of the land, the scouts reject promise and land alike.
The scouts begin by corroborating God’s description: “it does indeed flow with milk and honey” (13:27), and it is inhabited by other people; but they go on to invert the elements of God’s version. The land flowing with milk and honey becomes the land that eats its inhabitants; it is not like a nourishing mother offering sweet milk, but a cannibalistic mother not to be trusted (13:32). The peoples of Canaan are no ordinary nations, but Nephilim–a race of demigods born from the union of the sons of God and the daughters of humans (13:33; see also at Genesis 6:2–4). Next to their “enormous stature” the Israelites seem like “grasshoppers.” In the land of primordial giants, Israel’s ancestors are nowhere to be seen.
At this juncture, the majority of the scouts and the people have no will to wage war against giants or the land’s inhabitants; better they should have no homeland than engage in what seems to be fruitless wars. The scouts’ report fuels a narrative of opposition to the Promised Land–the place is a curse and not a blessing! It also opens up the possibility of a new identity: being an Israelite resistant to the notion that the people belong within a circumscribed territory. Instead of an inaugural vision, what the scouts report makes Israel want to go back to Egypt (Numbers 14:3–4). The scouts’ story is the anti-myth of the Promised Land.
ROSH CHODESH – Tamuz
Tamuz, the fourth month of the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown on Tuesday, June 28 and ends the evening of Thursday, June 30, 2022. In the now-fixed calendar, with two exceptions, Jewish months alternate between having 29 or 30 days. If a month has 30 days (such as the current month of Sivan), then day 30 of that month becomes Rosh Chodesh, as does the following day, which is day 1 of the next month. If a month has 29 days, such as Tamuz, then the following month has just one day of Rosh Chodesh, day 1 of the month.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
ROSH CHODESH – FOR THE NEW MONTH p.519:
Our God and God of our ancestors, may the new month bring us goodness and blessing. May we have long life, peace, prosperity, a life exalted by love of Torah and reverence for the divine; a life in which the longings of our hearts are fulfilled for good.
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 26 Sivan through 2 Tamuz, we lovingly remember:
TKH Memorial List
Holocaust Survivor, Author and Nobel Laureate
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, June 24, 2022. Mary Caron will lead Torah Study and Dr. Sam Caron will lead the service.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Sh’lach L’cha (triennial part) Num. 15:8-41
Time: Jun 24, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Jun 24, 2022 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser] – THIS IS DIFFERENT ACCESS THAN USUAL AND ONLY APPLIES TO THIS FRIDAY EVENING, JUNE 24, 2022:
To Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 838 3906 4209
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!
PS – Congratulations to all graduates and those celebrating a wedding or anniversary in June.