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So lay off… thoughts for Shlach

From Rabbi Phil Chernofsky, director of the OU Israel Centre, who has a parsha radio show I have listened to off and on for over 10 years:

What is the sin of the spies?

3300+ years later, people are still saying the same thing in our own time!

When somebody says in public that he is of the opinion that it’s easier to raise a child to be a good Orthodox Jew in New York than it is in Israel, this is the sin of the spies – alive and well in our time.

When someone says “it’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there” – THAT is cheit hameraglim, the sin of the spies.

When people say to the person who does make aliyah, “What, are you out of your mind?” – this is a perpetuation of the sin of the spies.

Listen online or download the full parsha audio as an MP3 here.

It constantly amazes me that people feel they have to POINT THINGS OUT about moving to Israel, as if we haven’t thought of them:

“What will your mother do without you?”

“What about the situation over there?”

“That’s very far away.”

“Won’t you miss your family?”

My mother is 65 years old – not exactly elderly.  I hope she can come and visit.  Maybe she can come and live.  And the SITUATION is no worse and probably much better than at most other times in the history of that little patch of land.  Yes, it is very far away.  Yes, we are moderately comfortable here.  Yes, this will be very hard.

At shul a couple of weeks ago, a woman came over who was in Ted’s Conversational Hebrew class over the winter (as usual, the ladies all loved him!).  She’s an older woman I’ve seen there but never spoken with. 

She told me she’s going in August and don’t let anything anybody says discourage us, because it’s the right thing to do.  Two sentences, maybe a bit more… but it was the very, VERY most helpful thing anybody has ever said since this plan was hatched.

If you think of something bad about moving to Israel, well, we’ve thought of it, thousands of Jews who plan to live their entire Jewish lives here in Toronto have thought of it… the meraglim have thought of it.  Those thoughts are old news.

Try thinking something new and wonderful, and then tell me all about it.

(cross-posted to the still-empty aliyah blog I created last summer)


  1. Don't worry, because the land is very, very good.

    Just think of being able to grow your own avocados, olives, and pomegranates!

    Think of warm enough weather on sukkot to actually sleep in the sukkah!

    Municipal program registration will not fall on Shabbat.

    Kosher food is plentiful and readily available.

    Everywhere you drive, names on road signs will remind you that you're in the exact same place where our ancestors walked and lived.

    You won't have to buy head coverings online because pretty much every accessory store sells them.

    Everyone, and I mean everyone, will wish you a Shabbat Shalom starting on Thursday afternoon.

    The government will always work to protect your right to live as a Jew in peace and security.

    Israeli comedy shows, particularly political satire, are wickedly funny.

    See? "Ki tov ha'aretz me'od me'od"


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