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June 29, 2024: Parashah Torah Portion Shelach Lecha - "Send for Yourself"

Shabbat: June 28th, 2024 at sunset until June 29th, 2024 at sunset.


Scriptures:

Torah Portion: Numbers 13:1-15:41

Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-24

Brit Hadashah: Hebrews 3:7-19

Parashah Torah Portion Shelach Lecha - "Send for Yourself"

Restore Israel Team: Elihana Elia, Dr. Hadassah Elia & Devorah Silva


The name of the Parashah, Shelach Lecha, means "Send for yourself" and it is found in Numbers 13:2.


"17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)

21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land." Numbers 13:17-25


This portion recounts how Moses sent twelve spies, one representative for each tribe, from the region of Kadesh into the land of Canaan to search it out and give a report of its condition. The spies returned 40 days later extolling the land, saying that was indeed fruitful and zevat chalav u'devash (שׁודב חלב זבת), "flowing with milk and honey", carrying a huge cluster of grapes, a pomegranate and a fig, to report on a lush and bountiful land.


However, ten of the spies also gave a discouraging report, indicating their lack of confidence that the people could conquer the land. They warned the Israelites that the inhabitants of the land are giants and warriors “more powerful than we”; Only Joshua (יהושע) and Caleb (כלב) kept faith in God's promise and insisted that the land can be conquered, as God had commanded!


Upon hearing the report of the ten spies, however, the people rebelled and cried out to return to Egypt. Angered by their lack of faith, God sought to destroy the people, but Moses interceded on their behalf, reminding the LORD that His reputation would be tarnished if He did not succeed in bringing these people into the land which He had promised to them!

The LORD accepted Moses' intercessory prayer, and decreed a delay of entry into the Promised Land, lengthening the Israelites' wandering in the desert to 40 years -- one year for each day the spies were in the land. During which time that entire generation would die out in the desert. All of the faithless generation of the Exodus over the age of 20 would die, except for Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who kept faith with the LORD. After hearing the judgment of God, a group of remorseful Israelites decided to "repent" by taking matters into their own hands. Without either the "ark of the covenant of the LORD" or Moses' leadership, they presumptuously decided to storm a mountain on the border of land, but were defeated by the Amalekites and Canaanites.


If last week's Torah Portion was "sefer kvetch" (a book of complaint), this week's Torah portion reveals the fateful consequences of unbelief in our hearts... The people's lack of faith in God's power serves as a profound and very sober warning, and indeed is a very strong warning regarding the dreadful sin of unbelief in the New Covenant (see Hebrews 3:7-4:11).


Indeed, Jewish tradition states that the decree that ADONAI spoke in Numbers 14:22-23 "none of the men who had seen My glorious Presence and My signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert ... will see the land that I swore to give to their fathers", was actually given on the Ninth of Av (i.e., Tishah B'Av), and was prophetic of the destruction of the Holy Temple and the later worldwide exile of the Jewish people from the Promised Land...


The parashah concludes with instructions for placing fringes (tzitzit) on the four corners of garments. Note that the tzitzit (צתִציִ) were intended to remind us not to fall into the same sin of unbelief that caused the spies to sin in the first place!

"It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, and not to "spy after" (i.e., וּתרֻתָ, the same word used to "spy" the land of Canaan) your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after." Numbers 15:39.


Truly it has been said, it was easy for the LORD to take the people out of Egypt, but it was hard for Him to take Egypt out of the people....


The tragedy of the sin at Kadesh ultimately has a happy ending, however, since the LORD is never thwarted by man's sin and weaknesses! After the 38 years of exile were complete, Moses' successor Joshua sent a second spying expedition to the promised land, though this time God led the spies to a prostitute named Rahab (חבָרָ), a direct ancestor of YESHUA the Messiah, who later identified her faith in the LORD's victory by displaying the scarlet cord (ניִ שָּׁהַ וטּח) during the fall of Jericho (Joshua 2).


Rahab was the grandmother of Boaz, who later married Ruth, the great grandmother of King David.

Likewise, we need to remember that ADONAI gives us the courage to walk in the power of His promises, even if our present circumstances seem challenging. The LORD clothes each one of us with the Armor of ADONAI to stand before all the giants of the land who defy the LORD and His mighty power!


"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints." Ephesians 6:10-18

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