SHELOCH

"And what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is a tree (wood) therein or not .................................." (13;20)

At this point Mosha is instructing the spies concerning their mission to evaluate the land of Israel. Rashi comments that when the verse is referring to "a tree" (wood), it means an honorable man who will protect the land by his merit. A tree is often synonymous with a person. A question can be asked, we know that when Abraham beseeched G-d on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah he asked that the city be rescued on behalf of 10 righteous men.(Genesis 18:32) Yet, here it seems that Mosha was only concerned about 1 righteous man that could potentially be a merit for the land. It appears to be a contradiction. Why 10 regarding Sodom and Gomorra, and 1 regarding the land of Israel ? I would like to propose, Bezrat Hashem, the following original answer: There is no contradiction. The answer can be found in the wording of the verse when it says ,"whether there is a tree or not". A tree provides shade and sustenance (fruits, ect.) to multitudes of people, similarly must a righteous man be a beacon of G-dly teachings to the people around him . This is precisely why Mosha used the wording of "a tree OR NOT". Mosha wanted the spies to investigate whether or not this righteous man was a teacher to others or was he righteous only for himself. If he was a righteous man that spread G-dly teachings to others , than perhaps his students would number 10 or more. This is very significant as evident from Sodom and Gomorra which needed 10 righteous man to save them. The Torah is teaching us that a righteous man must be proactive in spreading righteousness, and not be complacent with his own righteousness. The power of his spreading righteousness can safe a location from destruction because it increases the number of righteous people available.

I would like to explain this concept with an original Moshal (Parable), as follows: A certain location was plagued with an ailment that many great doctors tried to find a cure for, but without success. In this location lived a forester that knew and understood the medicinal properties of the various exotic fruits that grew in the forests surrounding this location. This forester discovered the very fruit that prevented and even cured the ailment that plagued the inhabitants of the location, yet due to his miserly nature he never revealed the exact fruit to any one ,not even to his family. He would eat and feed his family the fruit in order to spare them the consequences of the ailment, but never revealed its identity. This forester had passed on . Eventually his own family had succumbed to the ailment by not having a steading supply of the fruit. This forester was indeed miserly! (End of parable) We must all try to be proactive in spreading Torah to others. Our very survival might depend on it.

Have a good Shabbos

This Torah thought is being dedicated to my beloved father, Nachman Shimon ben Yehuda Meir Hakohan, Z"L.

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