I've been a fan of political observation for as long as I can remember, which is longer than many of you readers have been alive. This week, as פרשת שלח לך Parshat Shlach Lecha, Send! came around again it suddenly hit me. What's behind the "sin of the spies" Politics, business as usual, holding onto power. That's right. Nothing's new, nothing at all.
Why were the tribal leaders looking for excuses not to go into the HolyLand? It's a very common, timeless reason. Today we refer to it as "holding onto their seats." Yes, very simple. The twelve tribal leaders were sent to "tour" the land.
א וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר. 1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying:ב שְׁלַח-לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, וְיָתֻרוּ אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, אֲשֶׁר-אֲנִי נֹתֵן, לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל: אִישׁ אֶחָד אִישׁ אֶחָד לְמַטֵּה אֲבֹתָיו, תִּשְׁלָחוּ--כֹּל, נָשִׂיא בָהֶם. 2 'Send thou men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel; of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a prince among them.'ג וַיִּשְׁלַח אֹתָם מֹשֶׁה מִמִּדְבַּר פָּארָן, עַל-פִּי יְהוָה: כֻּלָּם אֲנָשִׁים, רָאשֵׁי בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵמָּה. 3 And Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran according to the commandment of the LORD; all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.
And they knew that once everyone was settled in the Promised Land the Jewish People were supposed to obey the G-d given commandment to anoint a king. And once there would be a king, the tribal leaders would be out of business, demoted at best.
So, like all politicians, then and now, they did their best to prolong their rule and convinced the people that it would be too dangerous to go to the promised land. And not only did they get punished with thirty-nine years of wandering, it took almost four hundred years in the Land of Israel until we had a strong king, King David.
Now, thousands of years alter, we're still waiting to be redeemed by G-d.
You might be interested in Moshe Feiglin's D'var Torah on the subject:
Connecting Heaven and Earth
Of course, it's always better in the original Hebrew.
English is fine.
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