(Torah Portion Shlach) Amazing!
The Parsha begins with G-d instructing Moshe our leader, “Send for ‘yourself’, spies into the land of Israel.” The usage of ‘for yourself’ is strange. Throughout the Torah, G-d instructs Moshe to share His word with the Jewish people without leaving it up to Moshe to instruct it to the Jewish people. Why was this situation different?
G-d promised the Jews that they would conquer the Land of Israel easily, with G-d defeating the powerful nations that inhabited the land. However, the Jews wanted to conquer the land through conventional and strategic ways; therefore they approached Moshe to send spies into the land.
Moshe asked G-d about this and He responded, “I already promised them My protection. However, I will allow them the right to send spies.”
Moshe conveyed this to the Jews, and they decided to send the spies. In the end, the mission failed miserably. Ten of the twelve spies reported badly about the land, and the Jews believed these naysayers. These 10 bad spies died, and the nation had to wander in the desert for 40 years before entering the land.
Our Sages teach us that no harm will come to one who is sent on a Mitzvah mission; the Mitzvah gives off protective energy.
In the case of the spies, since it was left up to them to decide and was not a direct command from G-d, it was not considered a Mitzvah mission and therefore lacked this protective energy and they were left vulnerable to fail in their mission.
The Avnei Nezer shares with us something fascinating about Mitzvos, how they provide one with protective energy, and how they are able to affect the Heavenly realms.
The Torah teaches that one can appoint a messenger on his behalf to perform various missions, and that the messenger becomes an extension of the sender.
For example, in a divorce, the husband must hand the document of divorce (Get) to his wife. The husband can appoint a messenger to deliver the Get to his wife, and the wife can appoint a messenger to receive the Get on her behalf.
The Talmudic wording of this concept is, “Shlucho Shel Adam K’moso. – A messenger is like the sender.”
Let’s analyze for a moment how the performance of a Mitzvah – performing a positive command works.
Through the instruction detailed in the Torah, G-d commands us to perform a Mitzvah; be it honoring a parent, giving charity, honoring the Shabbat, praying, affixing a Mezzuza, wearing Tefilin, eating Kosher etc.
We know that the person’s Mitzvah actions produce celestial eternal effects in Heaven, for G-d keeps an account of all deeds.
One can question, how can the actions of a mortal human being have such holy, lofty and Heavenly ramifications?
The answer is that when one performs a Mitzvah he is essentially a messenger who is following the command of the sender – in the case of a Mitzvah; the Sender is G-d Almighty Himself!
Applying the Talmudic rule that “A messenger is an extension of the Sender,” the effect of one’s Mitzvah deed and performance has the capacity to reach the highest levels in the spiritual spheres because the person who is fulfilling G-d’s will is essentially an extension of the Messenger – G-d Almighty!
This is an amazing concept to reflect on when performing the Torah’s commands; that we have been granted the absolute privilege to act as the Almighty’s emissaries and messengers. Aside from the spiritual effects, benefits and rewards, our performance also provides us with preferential physical and emotional protection as well!
Wishing you a restful, peaceful
and inspirational Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid Saks