Those who love the Land of Israel will appreciate this week’s Torah reading, which reminds us that God watches over it and we should never lose faith.
By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
This week’s Torah portion is Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12- 11:25) and it sure is a Land-of-Israel lover’s favorite! Is there a verse more meaningful than, “A land that God seeks out, the eyes of God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year”? What more can we ask for? Oh yeah, and I live here!!
Remember those spies? Moses sent 12 spies to spy out the land of Israel and bring back a report about what the land was like and what the Jewish people could expect to see upon arrival. The journey to Israel was intended to be completed within a few short weeks after leaving Egypt. Well, to make a long story short, the spies brought back a slanderous and even frightening report of the land. The people believed them and got scared. As a result, God punished the Jewish people with 40 years of wandering in the desert.
But here’s the question: Did the spies really do anything wrong? They were just doing their job! They were sent to bring back a report, and that’s exactly what they did. If they truly believed that the land was scary and unconquerable, they would be expected to say so! What’s going on here?
There are so many answers to this question. One can be understood through the following analogy:
There was once a person who sent his friend to a store to report back on a certain garment that was for sale. The friend was asked to report on the material, size and price.
When the friend returned, he reported on the material, size and price, as requested. But he also added: “The color isn’t right for you, and I don’t think the price is either.”
Aha! Herein lies the problem: The friend was asked to bring back facts…not opinions.
That was exactly the mistake of the spies. Not only did they bring the information, but they also offered their opinion: “We’ll never conquer that land!”
At the very least, the spies should have included: “But with God’s help we certainly will!”
Things Work Differently Here in the Land of Miracles
Perhaps when Moses said that it is “a land that God seeks out, the eyes of God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year,” he was repairing the damage done by the spies. He was reminding the people that we have a covenant with God. God controls the world, and if He said we are getting the land, it means we are getting the land!
This is the message of “the eyes of God are always upon it…” Things work differently here. We work on a supernatural playing field. Could anyone have imagined that the land of Israel would absorb millions of immigrants since its inception? Look at the technology, modernity, advancements, medicine, military and so much more. This is nothing short of miraculous.
And to get even more recent: Hamas terrorists fired over 2,000 rockets into Israel and there were only three civilian deaths! Most of the rockets seemed to fall into “open spaces!” Where does Hamas find all these “open spaces”? I can’t even find a parking spot in Tel Aviv, but Hamas seems to know where every open space in the Tel Aviv area is!
There you have it: “A land that God seeks out, the eyes of God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.” Please don’t expect the ordinary here!
For more insights by Rabbi Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below: