MVS Banner
Parshas Shelach 5773
Candle Lighting Time: 8:05 pm
May 31, 2013
Volume 9 Issue 26
Printer Friendly Version

For a printer friendly version of Menucha Vesimcha and weekly update click here: Menucha Vesimcha

Dvar Torah

Keep On Praying

By Rabbi Yerachmiel Lichtman 


 In this week's parsha, the twelve tribal princes went on a mission to survey the land of Eretz Yisroel prior to entry. This group of leaders was known as the Meraglim, spies. Instead of coming back with a glowing report of the land, they portrayed Eretz Yisroel in dire terms, frightening the rest of the nation and convincing them that it was too dangerous to enter. This resulted in a punishment of death upon that generation in the wilderness, and a delay of thirty nine years before the Jewish People could enter the Holy Land.


Among the leaders was Hoshea-ben-Nun, who was the prime disciple of Moshe Rabeinu. The Torah relates that Moshe added the Hebrew letter yud to the name of Hoshea, changing his name to Yehoshua. Rashi explains that this wasn't merely a name change, rather it was in essence a prayer beseeching Hashem that Hoshea be saved from the conspiracy of the spies and not become influenced by their mockery of the land. He derives this from the fact that the letter added by Moshe, when combined with the first letter of Hoshea's name, together creates the name of Hashem (Yud and Hey).


The Ohr HaChaim asks the following question: If Moshe's intention was to pray on behalf of Hoshea, why was it necessary to change his name? The Ohr Hachaim answers that the gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew letter yud is ten. The additional "ten" in his name would empower him to withstand the bad influence of the other "ten," the spies. Perhaps we can suggest another reason why Moshe specifically wanted to add the letter yud to Hoshea's name. Moshe Rabeinu wanted to convey to Yehoshua through adding the name of Hashem to his name that it is only through "siyata dishmaya" (divine assistance) that he would be able to remain strong against the negative influence of the meraglim.


From the above we learn that it is important for us to remember that all the wonderful blessings in our lives are only through the divine help of The Almighty. We daven every day, three times a day, for all our needs. We daven for good health, prosperity, insight, G-d fearing children etc. We hope that these prayers are answered speedily. Often, however, our prayers are answered, but as time goes by, we tend to forget Who answered those prayers. We get used to what we have and take credit for our achievements. This is a vital lesson in tefilla and emunah in Hashem. When Hashem responds to our prayers by giving us what we ask for, we should never forget where our Source of blessing comes from.


This brings to mind a lesson Rav Moshe Feinstien, zt"l sees in the story of Purim. Rav Moshe points out that Haman's success seemed to be unstoppable. He had power, wealth, influence and his plan to destroy the Jews seemed foolproof and secure. Yet it was turned completely upside down. Haman expected his situation to remain the way it was. He did not realize that his plan was not in line with that of Hashem.


We can apply this important lesson to our daily lives. There are many things in life, including life itself, that we take for granted. We are under the assumption that something we have today is ours to keep forever. This is something that should be kept in mind while praying. Just as we pray for something we would like to have, so too we should pray for the things we already have. 

Dvar Halacha


The Laws of Judging a Fellow Jew Justly  part 2


By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi


As mentioned last week, one has an obligation to judge the action of a fellow Jew "fairly."  Depending on what type of person was doing the questionable action will determine what is considered "fair" and "accurate."  The different groups are broken up as follows:


A Ya'rei Elokim or a Tzaddik (righteous person) [i.e. someone who is known to always act correctly in a certain area of halachah and interpersonal relationships]: In all cases, even if one sees him performing an action that can either be judged l'chovah (guilty) or l'zechus (innocent);or even if it appears negative and almost impossible that it was l'zechus, there is a positive commandment to assume that it was performed l'zechus.  The Gemara [Brachos 19b] teaches, that even if one sees a Ya'rei Elokim etc. unquestionably violate an aveirah, one has to assume he did teshuvah, except in cases where the aveirah is related to taking someone else's money.


A Rasha (wicked person) [i.e. someone who is known to always act incorrectly in a certain area of halacha and interpersonal relationships]: In all cases, even if the action strongly appears as if he is doing it l'zechus one is obligated to view it as if he performed it l'chovahHarav Mattisyahu Salomon, shlit"a, points out that we see this idea in the Torah. Both Lavan and Eisav did an action that appeared to be good [kissing and hugging Yaakov Avinu], yet Chazal viewed it l'raah, that it was done for ulterior motives] (Sefer Matnas Chelko, Shaarei Teshuva 3:218).


A Beino'nee (average person) [i.e. someone who is committed to acting correctly and avoiding transgression in a certain area of halacha, but sometimes errs]:  In a case where his action can be judged either way, one is obligated to judge him l'zechus.  However, if it something which seems near impossible to be l'zechus, then according to the ikar din (pure letter of the law), one may judge him l'chova.  However, it is nachon m'ode (very appropriate) to leave it as a "safek" (doubt), i.e. not to conclude it is l'chova, and it is midas chasidus (act of piety) to judge him l'zechus.

If one does not recognize the person who performed the questionable action: One is not obligated to judge him favorably.  However, it is an act of piety to judge him favorably in all cases (Sefer Chafetz Chaim, Introduction, Positive Commandments 3).


It is important to note, that since different areas of a person's behavior are independent of each other and are not always consistent, a person may very well be a "Tzaddik" in a certain mitzvah, a "Beino'nee" in a different area, and a "Rasha" in something else. (The Torah's Guidelines for Interpersonal Relationships [based on shiurim of Rabbi Yitzchok Berkowitz, shlit"a] Vol. 1 pg. 11).


We see this particular mitzvah can be very difficult to keep.  Is it realistic to always judge fairly?  Someone once asked Harav Yitzchok Hutner, zt"l, "We know people possess many different middos (character attributes) that can either be used for good or for bad.  What is the positive attribute of the midah of "krumkeit" [some people view the world in a very twisted way]"?  Rav Hutner answered, "In order to be m'kaiyaim the mitzvas m'doraisa of Don L'kaf Zechus.  Sometimes the only way to view something in a positive light is by completely turning it around!

About Us

If you would like to receive Menucha Vesimcha by weekly email or to sponsor an issue of Menucha Vesimcha in someone's honor / memory, please contact the editor at:    


Philadelphia Community Kollel
364 Montgomery Avenue
Merion Station, Pennsylvania 19066
Philadelphia Community Kollel