Parashat 37 Portion 109 – “Shelach lecha” – send! You send Bemidbar/ Numbers 13:1 -33 Haftarah: Yehosahu/Joshua 2:1-24. Second Writings: Eph 6:10-18
Significance of Number 37
We cannot enter (stay) in the land with our flesh and hearts uncircumcised.
37 times the words 'circumcision' and 'uncircumcision' appear in the Tenakh (Torah, first Writings and Prophets). YHVH made a covenant with our father Avraham in B'reshith 17 involving circumcision. Those who were circumcised became part of the covenant and those who refused were cut off from the covenant. This is analogous to receiving the word of YHVH and your desire to be part of the covenant. ‘Yehudah/Judah' where Yahshua was born appears thirty seven times in the scriptures. The golden lampstands in the Tabernacle appear thirty seven times in scripture as well.
Without a circumcision of the heart we shall not be prepared to enter the land.
Col 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Messiah,
Col 2:12 having been buried with Him in immersion, in which you also were raised with Him through the belief in the working of Elohim, who raised Him from the dead.
Aliyah Rishon 13:1-20
Num 13:1 And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying,
Num 13:2 “Shelach lecha” – send! You send men to spy out the land of Kenaʽan, which I am giving to the children of Yisra’ĕl. Send one man from each tribe of their fathers, everyone a leader among them.”
Num 13:3 And by the command of יהוה Mosheh sent them from the Wilderness of Paran, all of them men who were heads of the children of Yisra’ĕl. (Paran is believed to be the same place as modern day Petra)
Midrash – a Messianic scholar recently stated that this verse implied that the spies were sent out to see how desperately overwhelming the circumstances were in the land. The implication is that only a series of major miraculous interventions from YHVH would be able to save them from being completely destroyed by the inhabitants of the land. The inhabitants of the land were not only physically intimidating but were also steeped in occultic power and practices which caused great fear to come into any potential enemy.
Today we too need to trust YHVH to show us the true reality of what is happening in our world and that only His miraculous powerful intervention will be able to save us. I personally believe the situation in our world is far more serious than what most of us realize.
Vs 4-15 give the names of the leaders of the tribes. The tribe of Levi is excluded because YHVH was their inheritance. We must remember that these leaders did not bring back false reports, what they saw was real, they failed however to believe that YHVH would be able to deliver them, in spite of all the miracles they had witnessed in the wilderness.
Num 13:16 These are the names of the men whom Mosheh sent to spy out the land. And Mosheh called Hoshĕa the son of Nun, Yehoshua.
This is the first time a “yud” is added to “Yoshua’s/Joshua’s” name. His name becomes “Yehoshua” the same name Hebrew name was used for our Messiah. This name means that “YHVH” will save or help.
Num 13:17 And Mosheh sent them to spy out the land of Kenaʽan, and said to them, “Go up here into the South, and go up to the mountains, Num 13:18 and see what the land is like, and the people who dwell in it, whether strong or weak, whether few or many, Num 13:19 and whether the land they dwell in is good or evil, whether the cities they inhabit are in camps or strongholds, Num 13:20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are forests there or not. And you shall be strong, and bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first-fruits of grapes.
Aliyah Sheni 13:21-14:7
The scouts spent forty days spying the land. They returned to the Yisraelite encampment with specimens of Canaan's produce, and with an ominous report. They conceded that the land flowed with milk and honey, but they warned that its population was mighty and the cities well- fortified and impossible to conquer. Only Calev/ Caleb and Yehoshua/Joshua, the scouts representing the tribes of Yehudah/Judah and Ephrayim/Ephraim, dissented. They argued that the land was magnificent, and there was no reason for concern because YHVH could surely bring the Yisraelites victory in battle. The Hebrew people spent that entire night wailing, expressing their preference to return to Mitsrayim/Egypt rather than be defeated in battle by the Canaanites.
Num 13:21 So they went up and spied out the land from the Wilderness of Tsin as far as Reḥoḇ, near the entrance of Ḥamath.
Num 13:22 And they went up through the South and came to Ḥeḇron. And Aḥiman, Shĕshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anaq, were there. Now Ḥeḇron had been built seven years before Tsoʽan in Mitsrayim.
Num 13:23 And they came to the wadi Eshkol, and cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes. And they bore it between two of them on a pole, also of the pomegranates and of the figs.
Num 13:24 That place was called the wadi Eshkol, because of the cluster which the men of Yisra’ĕl cut down from there.
Num 13:25 And they returned from spying out the land after forty days.
Num 13:26 And they went and came to Mosheh and Aharon and all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl in the Wilderness of Paran, at Qaḏĕsh. And they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.
Num 13:27 And they reported to him, and said, “We went to the land where you sent us. And truly, it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
Num 13:28 “But the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are walled, very great. And we saw the descendants of Anaq there too.
Num 13:29 “The Amalĕqites dwell in the land of the South, while the Ḥittites and the Yeḇusites and the Amorites dwell in the mountains. And the Kenaʽanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Yardĕn.”
Num 13:30 And Kalĕḇ silenced the people before Mosheh, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are certainly able to overcome it.”
Num 13:31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”
Num 13:32 And they gave the children of Yisra’ĕl an evil report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land eating up its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size.
Midrash - “land eating up its inhabitants” implies that there is not enough produce to support everyone.
Num 13:33 “And we saw there the Nephilim, sons of Anaq, of the Nephilim. And we were like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so we were in their eyes.”
The Torah reveals that there were two occasions where Yisrael came perilously close to being totally annihilated by YHVH. The first occasion was after the sin of the “golden calf.”
Exo 32:9 And יהוה said to Mosheh, “I have seen this people, and see, it is a stiff-necked people!
Exo 32:10 “And now, let Me alone, that My wrath might burn against them and I consume them and I make of you a great nation.”
The second occasion was the rebellion of Yisrael when they refused to enter into the land of Canaan after the hearing the negative report of the 10 spies.
Num 14:11 And יהוה said to Mosheh, “How long shall I be scorned by these people? And how long shall I not be trusted by them, with all the signs which I have done in their midst?
Num 14:12 “Let Me smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
Today we should seriously consider the warning given to us from Shaul when speaking of the Yisraelites in the wilderness.
1Co 10:11 And all these came upon them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come,
1Co 10:12 so that he who thinks he stands, let him take heed lest he fall.
Could this be a warning concerning the mixed worship we bring to YHVH? The pagan practices we so easily accept into our faith.
Could this also be a warning to an end time remnant that are called to return to the land of Yisrael and refuse to do so because of the negative reports leaders will give about the conditions in the land of Yisrael being too hostile and unsafe for those who have been called to return?
For centuries the sages have pondered what would cause the Yisraelites to behave in such perilous ways. Have things really changed in our days?
“Thus it came to pass that on the Ninth of Av -- a day which was to bode many tragedies for the people of Israel YHVH informed Moshe that the generation that received the Torah at Sinai was not fit to enter the Land of Canaan. He decreed that they shall live out their lives as wanderers in the desert until a new generation would take up the challenge of conquering the land of Canaan and developing it as a "Set Apart land”
Virtually all the commentaries pose the question: What happened? Where did they go wrong?
The spies dispatched by Moshe were no ordinary individuals: "They were all men of distinction, leaders of the children of Yisrael" (Bemidbar/Numbers 13:3). Furthermore, in all of history, it would be difficult to find a generation whose lives were more saturated with miracles than theirs. Mitsrayim/ Egypt, the most powerful nation on earth at the time, was forced to free them from slavery when "the mighty hand" of YHVH inflicted ten supernatural plagues. When Pharaoh's armies pursued them, the sea split to let them pass and then drowned their pursuers. In the desert, miracles were the stuff of their daily lives: manna from heaven was their daily bread, "Miryam's well" (a miraculous stone which travelled along with the Yisraelite camp) provided them with water, and "clouds of esteem" sheltered them from the desert heat and cold, kept them clothed and shod, destroyed the snakes and scorpions in their path, and flattened the terrain before them to ease their way.
For these people to doubt YHVH's ability to conquer the "mighty inhabitants" of Canaan seems nothing less than ludicrous. Yet these were the people whose leaders said, "We cannot go up against these people, for they are mightier than we" and even He!
Where did they go wrong?
Chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi explains that the problem was one of excess spirituality.
The daily miracles experienced by the generation of the Exodus did more than provide them with sustenance and protection -- they shielded them from any and all involvement with the material world. For the first generation of our existence as a people, they lived a wholly spiritual life, free of all material concerns; the very food which nourished them was "bread from heaven."
Indeed, it could not have been any other way. Our sages have said that, "The Torah could have been given only to the eaters of the manna." To properly receive and assimilate the divine wisdom, one must be utterly free of the responsibilities and frustrations of physical life -- something that is possible only in the kind of environment which our ancestors enjoyed during their sojourn in the Sinai Desert.
This is why, says Rabbi Schneur Zalman, the Spies and their generation were loath to enter the land. Becoming a people with a land would entail plowing, sowing and harvesting; it would mean engaging in commerce and levying taxes; it would require a bureaucracy to run the land and an army to defend it. Their underlying problem with the land was, as the spies expressed it, that "it is a land that consumes its inhabitants" -- it consumes one's time and energy with its corporeal demands and infringes on one's capacity to study the divine wisdom of Torah and meditate upon its truths. They were unwilling to relinquish their spiritual utopia for the entanglements of an earth-bound life.”
Now they would have to live day by day bearing the yoke of the Torah (Matt 11:29)
“Based on this, the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains the Spies' argument that "We cannot go up against these people, for they are mightier than we," notwithstanding the tremendous miracles which YHVH had performed and was performing for them. We cannot have it both ways, argued the spies. Either we are to be a spiritual people engaged exclusively in spiritual pursuits and sustained by supernatural means; or else we are to enter the natural world of the farmer, merchant and soldier and become subject to its laws. And under these laws -- which decree that the numerous, mighty and well-fortified will defeat the few and the weak -- there is no way we can defeat the inhabitants of Canaan.
They even went so far as to extend this line of reasoning to the Almighty Himself. If YHVH wishes for us to live a spiritual life, then, certainly, He can sustain us with miracles. But if His desire is that we abandon our supra-natural existence to enter the land and assume a natural life, then He Himself has decreed that natural law (and Torah) will govern our fate. In that case, He cannot empower us to miraculously conquer the land, since were He to do so, this would defeat the entire purpose of entering the "land." So "they are mightier than He" -- even YHVH cannot help us, if He Himself has chosen to transform us into a material people!
If the "generation of the desert" would have themselves been capable of making the transition into a people of the land, the transformation of the material world into a home for YHVH would have been fully and perfectly achieved in that very generation. If they would have believed in their divinely granted capacity to "have it both ways," their sanctification of the land would have combined their ultimate apprehension of the divine truth with a full involvement with the natural reality.
The generation of the desert failed to actualize the unique opportunity which presented itself at that particular juncture of our history: for there to be a single generation which straddled both worlds, a single generation which first inhabited a world of utter spirituality and then proceeded to apply it to a life on the land. Instead, they fell prey to the tendency of man to "compartmentalize" his life, to label his experiences and attainments as "material," "spiritual," "sacred," "mundane," "natural" and "supernatural," thereby delegating and confining them to their respective domains. (Christians cannot stop speaking about heaven)
What was the reason that the Spies, who were leaders of Yisrael and men of lofty stature, did not want to enter the Land?
The explanation of the matter is as follows:
A great majority of the physical mitzvot can be implemented only in the Land of Yisrael, especially the agricultural laws and the laws of the offerings brought to the Beit Ha Mikdash (Temple)... The Spies, who were on a most lofty spiritual level, did not wish to lower themselves to the level of physical action, preferring to remain in the desert, where they received all their needs from above, and related to YHVH by means of the loftier levels of thought and speech (i.e., study of Torah and prayer). They desired to draw down all the Divine emanations into the "Land of Yisrael" that exists in the realm of Malchut, the world of Divine speech, where there also is a "Yerushalayim" and a "Set Apart Temple." Regarding the physical Land of Yisrael, they said: "It is a land that consumes its inhabitants"--if the Divine light were to be drawn down into the physical world, our entire existence would be nullified.
But Yehoshua/Joshua and Calev/Caleb said, "The Land is very, very good." It is specifically in the Land of Yisrael down below, and specifically by means of the mitzvot implemented by physical action, that the truly infinite light of YHVH is drawn down--a light that includes both the spiritual and the material, which is why it is "very, very" good.
(Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi)
Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson
We need to be in the land so that He can conquer our enemies.
We need to be in the land so that the world can see a generation of set apart people who know how to function spiritually and physically in a way that honours YHVH.
The world is yet to see a people who truly enjoy the blessing and protection of YHVH. This may initially only be a very very small remnant.
Only in the land of Yisrael can YHVH’s set apart people begin to embrace and follow all of Torah – the marriage covenant.
Midrash about entering into the land in the last days:
It is clear from the prophets that there will one day In the future be a greater exodus to land of Yisrael of all house of Yisrael.
Jer 23:7 “Therefore, see, the days are coming,” declares יהוה, “when they shall say no more, ‘As יהוה lives who brought up the children of Yisra’ĕl out of the land of Mitsrayim,’
Jer 23:8 but, ‘As יהוה lives who brought up and led the seed of the house of Yisra’ĕl out of the land of the north and from all the lands where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell on their own soil.”
This has not yet happened. There remains a remnant from the house of Yisrael who desire to return to the land. Presently many messianic believers who want to return to the land of Israel are not permitted by the authorities in Israel. This will possibly change in our life time. Recently a prophetic word was given in this regard by a brother in Israel – Ovadhah Abrahami describing the current desperate situation in Yisrael. Here is his quote:
“Somebody has lost the Thread?
Who are we kidding? - but ourselves!
And even INSIDE these national Cages they slaughter us - simply because they are AMONGST us!
Because they are not OF us - and do NOT want to be!
Do we not get the Message?
It is time that the hundreds of millions of Exiles from the Lost House of Israel, properly renewed to Torah, RETURNS!
Only NUMBERS can solve this!”
When will those waiting to return to the land know when it is time to go?
I believe there is a key for us to understand when and how we must return to the Promised Land.
When we realize as you look back over our lives and see that everything significant that has happened to us has all happened to us to prepare you for the greatest moment of our lives– the return along with a very small remnant to the land of Yisrael. It may appear to many as the most foolish thing to do but somehow you will know deep in your heart that everything that has happened to you in this life has prepared you for this moment.
Perhaps before we can cross over everything in our lives that needs to be exposed will be exposed in the light of the Ruach Ha Kodesh. Nothing will be hidden. All forms of mixture and lack of faith and disobedience to Torah will be faced and YHVH will enable us through His Ruach to come to a place of deep repentance and refreshing.
Act 3:19 “Repent therefore and turn back, for the blotting out of your sins, in order that times of refreshing might come from the presence of the Master,
Act 3:20 and that He sends יהושע Messiah, pre-appointed for you,
Act 3:21 whom heaven needs to receive until the times of restoration of all matters, of which Elohim spoke through the mouth of all His set-apart prophets since of old.