Shabbat Parashat Shelach | 5768
How Does One Lose the Land, Heaven Forbid?
Parashat HashavuaHarav Yosef Carmel
The spies’ path through Eretz Yisrael is outlined in our parasha: “They went up and traveled the Land, from the Zin Desert to Rechov to L’vo Chamat” (Bamidbar 13:21). In all of the several mentions of L’vo Chamat in Tanach, it has an implication of referring to the whole Land or all of its inhabitants. This is so because it is a place in the periphery of the country, on its northern border (see Bamidbar 34:8; Yechezkel 47:20). David is described as assembling all of the people to escort the aron to Yerushalayim, from the Shichor River in Egypt to L’vo Chamat (Divrei Hayamim I, 13:5). We find this in the time of Shlomo as well (Melachim I, 8:65), as people gathered to inaugurate the Beit Hamikdash. Let us take a look at citations in the prophets that include this location in a prominent manner.
The navi tells that Yeruvam ben Yoash was victorious and extended the borders of the Kingdom of Israel to their maximum, reaching until L’vo Chamat (Melachim II, 14:25). The midrash says that when one shows respect to prophets, he receives more land than Yehoshua and David did (Eliyahu Zuta 7). These victories brought on great riches for the kingdom and its capital, Shomron. One of the materials that is the greatest signs of riches is ivory (see Melachim I, 10:21; ibid. 22:39). In his words of rebuke to the people of that time, Amos refers to houses and beds of ivory that existed (Amos 3:15; Amos 6:4). However, these riches caused terrible corruption, which was the target of most of Amos’ prophecies. In warning of the impending doom that would befall the people if they continued these ways, he spoke of affliction that would come from L’vo Chamat to the stream of the Arava (ibid. 6:12-14).
Amos speaks of three issues. 1) One who abuses justice and harms the vulnerable is like one who has his horse run through fields before the rocks have been removed. 2) The conquests of the dynasty of Yehu (of which Yoash was a member) will be returned. 3) The Asyrians will oppress the nation militarily until their control will be lost.
There are apparently two main ways for us to lose control over Eretz Yisrael. One, which is found in our parasha, is the despising of eretz hemdah (the coveted land). The other is by displaying corrupt behavior instead of maintaining a moral existence.
This week we will commemorate the 13th yahrtzeit of our teacher, Harav Shaul Yisraeli z.t.l. He taught, among other things, the love of the Land and the importance of an effective, upstanding judicial system and society. May we follow in his footsteps in those areas and in others.
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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Hemdat Yamim is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker of
Max and Mary Sutker
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.