Devekus, the spies and inner conflict – Parashat Shelach 5780

Our Sages say “One who lives in the Land of Israel is considered as one who has a G-d whereas one who dwells outside of the Land is like one who does not have a G-d” – Ketubot 110b

The Ma’or Einayim quotes Masechet Avodah Zarah (8a) “Jews outside of the Land of Israel can be said to serve idols in a state of purity”. He goes on to explain that the flow of physical sustenance reaches the Jews through the angel of that country in which they reside (Zohar v1, p108b) in spite of the fact that they pray for sustenance from G-d. Nevertheless, G-d grants their request and sends blessings to them through the spiritual force that governs that country. It is only in the Land of Israel itself that there is no intermediary. The Land of Israel is the place of intimate direct connection with HaShem.

In the “Aish Kodesh,” the Piaseczna Rebbe speaks regarding the Meraglim (spies). He teaches that since HaShem is above nature, even if all natural paths of salvation look like they are blocked, we must strengthen our faith and trust that HaShem can deliver us. This concept is of critical importance because when we allow the “truth” of what we see in nature to determine our mindset, it blemishes our faith.  This blemish can then actually prevent salvation from happening, G-d forbid. He goes on to explain that what the Meraglim saw was all true – there were fortified cities, giants and so on which naturally would have not been possible to conquer. Where the Meraglim failed, however, was in not continuing the sentence and in not proclaiming “I know that G-d will save us, we must go forth, we can do it”! This declaration must be said without rationalization – this is the kind of faith and bitachon in G-d that brings our salvation close.

This is not a piece about Aliyah, although it could be. This is a piece about yishuv hadaas (a settled mind) and devekus to HaShem. Eretz Yisrael is a reflection of the spiritual world, a reflection of the place where we can be eye to eye (so to speak) with HaShem. This is the world of devekus that we strive for, a place of intimacy with our Creator.

As we each stand at the “border” of spiritual growth, moving into a place of deeper, more clear connection to HaShem we are faced with the voices inside that tell us to look at the “facts” – “how can I ever really be close to HaShem? I have done this, I do that, I desire this…” and so on. This is the way of nature that the Piaseczna Rebbe spoke of. Yes, by nature, none of us deserve, nor could we attain, devekus with HaShem, we have all gone “too far” so to speak. When we have the courage to stand up and say, “yes, it may be true that I have done this, or that and I am this or that… but my relationship with HaShem is ‘above nature’” – then we are able to be still, strengthen ourselves and also say, “I believe in G-d and I can do this!”  When we shut down the voices of our internal Meraglim, we strengthen the very aspect of ourselves that opens the gates to the “Land of Israel” – the place of intimacy and Devekus with HaShem. After all, it is His desire for us to come into the Land and for us to arrive at a place of devekus, but it is our job to believe that it can actually happen in spite of what we see through the eyes of “nature”.

Good Shabbos,

Shimon Aaron

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