Returning to the Source


Jerusalem, Israel HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva


23 Sivan 5767/8-9 June 2007


After the sin of the ten spies and the decree that the Jewish people would now have to wander for the next 40 years in the desert until that generation could be wiped out, the Torah goes on to teach us about the laws of the wine libation on the altar in the Temple, and the commandment of separating challah. In fact, we find that when the spies returned to the Israeli camp and found Moses, Aharon, the Sanhedrin, and the Jewish people by the Tabernacle learning the laws of challah, they mockingly said to them that we would not be needing these laws, as we could not conquer the Land of Israel.

Why, then, did the Torah place these laws of the libation on the altar and of challah right after the unfortunate episode of the spies?

As is well known, the first man, Adam, was created from the dust of the site of the altar in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The place in which he was created will be the place of his atonement. Adam, our Rabbis teach us, is the pure challah of this world. And just like a person is obligated to take off a piece of his bread and give it over to the Kohanim/ Priests, so, too, Hashem, after creating the world, separated a piece from this world - that piece was Adam, the first man.

The libations which accompanied the sacrifices were poured on top of the altar into two little holes, which led to the very foundation of the Temple floor. These two items, the challa and the libation, more then anything else represent a return to their original source.

After the sin of despising the Land, the Jewish people became depressed and a spirit of mourning prevailed. The people wondered: Maybe we will never enter Eretz Yisrael. Hashem ordered Moshe to go cheer the despondent Jews. Master of the Universe, asked Moshe, how do I comfort them? By teaching them, replied the Almighty, the laws of libations and taking challa from the dough. Here Hashem was teaching the Jewish people that even though a decree has come that the Jews must now wonder for the next 40 years, still, they will eventually come up to the Land, for like a magnet that pulls metal closer, so, too, the Land of Israel will always be pulling the Jewish people to come back to their source.

For this reason, these two laws are taught to the Jewish people after the sin of the spies, to tell us that no matter how far the Jew is away on his journey in life, the Land of Israel, his source will always be pulling him back home.

How ironic, then, that we find this week, the week that we read about the sin of the spies, who despised the Land of Israel and preferred to stay in the golden exile of the desert, that the head of the German Jewish community came out objecting to the Israeli government over the advertisements in Germany calling for aliya of the small Jewish community there. Of all places in the world, davka Germany, they are telling their people: No, no need to come home to Israel. Let's build up the wonderful "new" Jewish community right here, for surely lightning never strikes twice in the same spot…

The spies, even though they were the leaders (Gedolim) of the Jewish people at the time, were very small-minded and only wanted to hold on to their high positions. In the end, they lost not only their Volvos and their seats in parliament, but also their place in the World to Come. It must then be our job to fix the sin of that generation and come home to the Land that, in the words of Calev and Joshua, is very very good. We must stop resisting the force that’s pulling us back to our source: The Land of Israel.

With love of Israel,

Levi Chazen

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