The Temple Institute: Temple Talk: Sivan 19, 5770, June 1, 2010

"The land we passed through to scout is an exceedingly good land."
(Numbers 14:7)

By uttering these words, Yehoshua bin Nun and Calev ben Yefunneh saved the nation of Israel, and perhaps the entire world, from marching into the abyss. By uttering these words, Yehoshua bin Nun and Calev ben Yefunneh set a moral imperative for all times, the imperative to speak out against injustice, and to take a stand against the tyranny of the many, when the many have become possessed by an evil spirit that threatens all that is good in the world.

The assembly of notables that Moshe had appointed, otherwise known as the spies, to make an advance visit to the land of Israel and report back on their findings, returned with the tidings that the land of Israel was, indeed, everything that G-d had promised. But, alas, it would remain unattainable to the children of Israel, as it was occupied by inhabitants that the spies found spectacularly intimidating, precluding, in their estimate, Israel's ability to dislodge them and inherit the land that G-d had promised.

Of course, inheriting the land that G-d promised, performing the many commandments that can only be performed in the land of Israel, and building the Torah society whose heart and soul is the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple that sits within its gates, was the dream and the goal of the entire Israelite nation as they steadily made their way across the desert sands. Destination Israel is what they strove for, uniting them and impelling them forward.

Naturally, when their own leaders, hand chosen by Moshe rabeinu - Moses our master, dismissed all this as an impossibility, they crumbled. Their sudden loss of spirit, as unjustified as it was, could well have proven fatal for the nation, had not Yehoshua and Calev at that moment risen to the historic occasion, and, in the very midst of a people having lost faith in themselves and in their G-d, stood firm against the overwhelming tide of defeatism and despair, and uttered their truth, "We can surely go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it." (ibid 13:30)

When G-d subsequently tells Moshe that the entire generation will die in the desert due to their faint-hearted response, save Yehoshua bin Nun and Calev ben Yefunneh, it wasn't intended as a reward for the two, but in recognition that only they possessed the very faith and the courage necessary to inherit the land. This week's episode of the terror flotilla that set sail for Gaza has afforded all the world's illustrious notables yet another opportunity to cynically and shamelessly trash Israel. Precisely today, when the entire world is clamoring to slander the nation of Israel, and speak ill of the land of Israel, and behave disparagingly toward the G-d of Israel, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to take a stand and speak boldly and forcefully, as did Yehoshua and Calev, on behalf of the people, the land and the G-d of Israel. Only those that make their voices heard now, and cast their lot with Israel will make their mark in history, and likewise be noted by G-d, that they too, like His servant Calev, are "possessed by another spirit," worthy of G-d's deliverance.

Tune in to this week's TEMPLE TALK as Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven seek to understand the saga of the Israel's naval commando's take-over of the Gaza Flotilla in the light of the eternal, staggering truths found in this week's Torah portion of Parashat Shelach. What does this terrorist-funded, terror-motivated provocation against Israeli sovereignty have to do with the sin of the spies of the desert? And what's it got to do with the Holy Temple? Our hosts resound the answer, "Everything!" Tune in and find out how the Land of Israel is the only source of blessing for our physical world.

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