Parshas Shelach 5776
Candle Lighting Time: 8:15 pm
July 1, 2016
Volume 12 Issue 30
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Dvar Torah

Our Bread

  By Rabbi Yosef Prupas

This week's Parsha features one of the most infamous sins of the Jewish People, the sin of the miraglim, the spies. The result of that needless cry would resonate with pain, sorrow, and destruction for centuries to come. We read the parsha with frustration and ask, "How could they, why did they do it, and how could they have fallen so low?"
We will try to convey, with some additional commentary, the words of the Nesivos Shalom on this topic. He asks, what was the need for miraglim, were the Jewish Nation not used to living a supernatural existence? How would a report on the physical prowess of the Canaanite nations have any impact on their chosen path of conquest? Additionally, is it not a tactical error to send the holiest of men on, what would seem, a basic reconnaissance mission?
The Nesivos Shalom answers that the call for great men stemmed from a deeper understanding of the potential perils that might result from invading the land. Moshe understood that just as the land had phenomenal positive spiritual potential; it had a similar amount of possible negativity. To properly assess the impending danger required men of tremendous spiritual height. Only the greatest would be able to understand and diagnose what would be needed to remain impervious to the potential danger. Just as Sara (through receiving the land of Goshen) and Yehuda (by establishing a Yeshiva in Goshen) laid the groundwork for the Jewish People, to protect them from the evils of Egypt, the same process would be required in the land where true free choice would now be possible again.
What went wrong? What was their error? Their mistake lay in the feeling of incapability to take on a land filled with tremendous physical potential and desire. The flavor of the fruits of the land were irresistible. The fruits' enormity represented physical pleasure to an extreme. Additionally, the Canaanite people were devoted to immorality on a level beyond comprehension. It was to this forbidden land that the Jewish People, coming literally from under G-d's shadow and nourished spiritually, were supposed to enter. A land that devoured its inhabitants with its pleasures, how could the Jewish People ever make proper choices there?
Yet, as well meaning as they were, that was their mistake. Just as they were to have full trust in G-d in conquering the land on a physical level, they should have had the same degree of confidence on a spiritual level. As the Talmud (Shabbos 104a) states, "One comes to purify himself, G-d helps him." Similarly the Talmud states elsewhere (Succos 52b), "A man's inclination threatens everyday to overpower him and seeks to kill him... And if not for the fact that the Holy One Blessed is He aids him, he would be unable to withstand it."
It was the will of G-d that they enter this testing ground. Their goal was to take all the seemingly mundane and elevate it for spiritual purposes. This is what Yehoshua and Calev referred to when they cried out in defense of entering the Holy Land, "For they are our bread." Those puzzling words alluded to the potential that the tantalizing food of Eretz Yisrael could become basic nourishment represented by bread. The fruit could be used to nourish the Jewish People on their quest for spiritual greatness and closeness to G-d. But they failed in the face of possible achievement, not wanting to leave their cocoon in the Clouds of Glory and test the waters of Eretz Yisrael. May we always remain undaunted by seemingly impossible spiritual tests and know that if we do our best, G-d will assist us with the rest.


 
Dvar Halacha
 
Laws of Sending Away the Mother Bird
By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi
 
With the spring and summer months upon us, numerous people in our neighborhood have been finding birds' nests on their property. If there are eggs or newborn chicks in the nest, this can present itself with a very special mitzvah opportunity. We are taught in Parshas Ki Seitzey [Devarim 22:6-7] "When you happen upon a birds nest etc. [containing] chicks or eggs and the mother is roosting on the chicks or eggs, do not take the mother with the children. You shall surely send away the mother, and the chicks you shall take for yourself, so that it will be good for you and lengthen your days." This mitzvah applies equally to both men and women (Sefer Hachinuch 545).
The Gemara [Chullin 142a] states, any mitzvah that the Torah specifies the reward, techiyas hameisim (resurrection of the dead) is dependent on it. The Gemara explains that the reward of a long life is referring to the World to Come. Furthermore, Chazal explain that there are additional rewards even in this world for fulfilling this mitzvah, including: children (Yalkut Shemoni Devarim 930), finding a spouse (Yalkut Shemoni Devarim 925), a new house [becoming wealthy] (Medrash Tanchuma Ke Tzaytzay 1), hastens the Final Redemption (Yalkut Shemoni 930) and protects from harm (Devarim Rabbah 6:6).
The Rishonim suggest numerous reasons as to why Hashem commanded us with this mitzvah, including: to ensure that birds do not become extinct (Ramban & Rabbeinu B'chayei Devarim 22:6), to limit the pain of the mother bird [of watching her children being taken away from her]( Rambam [Moreh Nevuchim 3:48]), to accustom the person not to be cruel. (Ramban), to arouse Hashem's mercy on the Jewish people (Rabbeinu B'chayei quoting Zohar) or a mystical concept (Ramban ibid). Similarly, the Aruch Hashulchan [YD 292:4] writes that even though there are many reasons given that are based on logical deduction, it is really a gezeiras haMelech (decree of the King) that the real reason is hidden from us.
There is a machlokes haposkim whether or not to recite a brachah before performing this mitzvah (Pischei Teshuva YD 292:2). The general custom is not to recite one, however if one wishes to he may recite one without mentioning Hashem's Name (Sefer Sha'laiach Tishalach pg. 75 quoting Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit"a).
It is important to note, the mitzvah is only if the mother bird and eggs or chicks are kosher birds (Shulchan Aruch YD 292:1). Birds that have a mesorah (oral tradition) of being kosher include; chicken, turkey, pigeon, doves, duck, goose, sparrow, swan, peacock, rock partridge, pearl hen, pheasant, desert partridge, quail, robin, wagtail, swallow, and blackbird (Sefer Sha'laiach Tishalach pg. 175- 187 quoting Rabbi Amitai Ben David, shlit"a). If one finds a nest and is unsure whether it is a kosher bird or not, one should perform the mitzvah (Sefer Sha'laiach Tishalach pg. 49 quoting Harav Chaim Kanievsky shlit"a). However, if one is certain that the bird is non-kosher, one may not send the mother away. (Shulchan Aruch YD 292:7).
There is only a mitzvah to send away a mother if there are chicks or eggs that contain chicks (Shulchan Aruch YD 292:7). If one finds a nest with eggs and is unsure whether there are chicks inside the eggs, one should perform the mitzvah since it is uncommon for the eggs not to contain chicks (Aruch Hashulchan YD 292:6).
In a situation that one does not want to take the eggs, there is machlokes haposkim whether there is a mitzvah to send away the mother (Sefer Sha'laiach Tishalach pg. 29-31). Since many Poskim hold that one does not fulfill the mitzvah unless one takes/ acquires the eggs, one should make every effort to take the eggs.

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