Tuesday, June 15, 2004

kee lachmaynu hem

Ten spies were violently opposed to entering Israel. It is a land that eats its inhabitants, they argued, a land where we will be like grasshoppers.

A friend, citing a sicha prepared by the Lubovitch Rebbe, suggested that the spies worried that in Israel they would lose their status and their way of life. Perhaps the spies thought that in Israel, they'd no longer be leaders; instead they'd be small, like grasshoppers. Perhaps they woried that in Israel they'd no longer be able to enjoy the splendid isolation of the midbar, where their every need was met through divine providence; instead they would be required to work the land for their daily bread, an endeavor that can be souless and back-breaking, mindless and corrupting.

The spies wanted to stay in the midbar, the sicha suggests, because in the midbar the people were surrounded by holiness. They did not have to work. They did not have to build. In the midbar, they were always in the precense of God.

Is there a parralel between the attitude of the spies, as explained by the Rebbe, and the attitude of anti-Zionists who, before world war II, encouraged their people to stay in Europe, rather than emigrate to irreligious Israel?