Thought of the Week: Shelach - 5780


Travelers to the United States, when crossing the border, are quite aware of issues relating to transporting fresh fruits or vegetables into the country.  The inconvenience at Pearson Airport, of being sent into additional screening and interrogating due to an apple or a pear, can be traumatizing.

It appears that difficulties of fruit transport across international borders have their roots in Pareshat Shelach.

As Moshe is instructing the spies for their mission to the Land of Canaan, he tells them to make an assessment of the layout of the land.  He then adds that they should "strengthen (Vehitchazaktem), and bring of the fruit of the land.”  One might ask why they need to self-strengthen just to bring back some fruit.

In the Talmud, we are taught that when acquiring property, one must perform and act of possession to officially make the land his.  Such an act is known as a Chazakah (strong holding).

When Moshe tells the spies "Vehitchazaktem," what he was actually telling them was to make a 'stronghold' of Eretz Yisrael and thus acquire it for the people of Israel.


If the spies would have had the confidence that this land was given to the people of Israel, and that no nation in the world can stop them when they carry the word of Hashem, they indeed would have made a successful Chazakah of Eretz Yisrael.

Shabbat Shalom