Shelach 2021 Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס"ד
Discover the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
And He Came to Hebron
The Torah was given in forty days, and the spies in this parsha were sent for forty days. Our Sages also teach that the soul enters the embryo forty days from conception. We may say that just as the forty days were needed for the spiritual “gestation” in the case of the Tablets of the covenant of the Torah, so too forty days were needed for the spiritual “gestation” in the case of Israel’s developing their spiritual bonds to the Holy Land.
In both cases of “gestation,” the Giving of the Torah and Israel’s “bonding” to the Holy Land in this parsha, the initial result was, unfortunately, a “miscarriage,” Israel sinned in the Sin of the Calf which caused the breaking of the Tablets of the Torah, and, in this parsha, Israel sinned in the Sin of the Spies, causing their entrance to the Land to be delayed by forty years and other dire consequences.
Nevertheless, in both cases, a “rectification” is reached in another period of forty days, in the case of the Second Tablets, or forty years, in the case of Israel’s entrance and settlement of the Land after this period. We mentioned before that the book of Shir Hashirim can be a metaphor not only for the relationship between Hashem and Israel, as husband and wife, but can also be a metaphor for the relationship between Israel, the “husband” and the Holy Land, the “wife.” Not only this, but we can draw a connection between these two metaphors. Our Sages teach that Hashem does not enter the supernal Temple above till Israel enters the earthly Temple below. The Kabbalists explain that “entering” here refers to a Divine union. In this analogy, the “supernal Temple” above may refer to the “place” or concept of the Holy Presence above called the Assembly of Israel, i.e., the “soul”/internal essence of Israel associated with Holy Presence. In this analogy, this “supernal union” indicates Hashem’s union with Israel, the first metaphor we mentioned hinted to in Shir Hashirim. Indeed, the Giving of the Torah we mentioned is indicative of Hashem’s unity with Israel, as Torah represents the Covenant between Hashem and Israel. However, Israel’s entrance within the earthly Temple is indicative of the second metaphor we mentioned in Shir Hashirim: Israel is the “husband,” and the Holy Land is the “wife,” as the entire Land of Israel is called the House of Hashem, i.e., an extension of the Temple (Hulin 92a). In this context, Israel’s entrance and settlement of the Holy Land and Temple are the “lower union.” Therefore, we may say, according to our Sages teaching that the actual “supernal union,” indicated through the Torah, is only reached when first the “lower union” is reached, i.e. entrance and settlement of the Holy Land and Temple (see Hagiga 5 – “once Israel were exiled from the Land there is no greater nullification of Torah than that.”)
It seems from this parsha that a forty-day/year process is not the only means of rectifying our unity with the Holy Land. Kalev entered Hebron, the City of Unity (haber=hibur-unity) with our Holy Land, and was thereby saved from the sin of the spies, allowing him to enter and settle the Holy Land. Indeed, another name for Hebron is Kiryat Arba, the city of “four.” The Tikunei Zohar says that from Hebron will emanate a “four-part” song. The Tikunei Zohar also states that there are ten types of songs. If we multiply these ten songs by their “four parts,” then we yet again reach the number forty, the number of physical and spiritual initial “gestation” as we just explained. About this song, the Tikunei Zohar states: “At that time (the end of days), the three Patriarchs will adjoin with might, and teruah, shevarim, and tekiah will be sounded, and with them, the “the earth will shake,” and this will be in the “end of days,” and all these miracles will be in the Land of Israel, for there is located Hebron where the Patriarchs are buried” (Tikunei Zohar 13:28b).
Real Stories from the Holy Land:
“On my way to Hebron, I was waiting for the mini-van designated by the Jewish Community of Hebron to take people to Hebron. Meanwhile, one person stopped to take me although I made no sign that I was seeking a ride. In appreciation of this kind overture, I felt I should not refuse their offer even though I planned to take the designated ride straight to my destination. Afterward, I inquired why it seemed that the mini-van was late. It “turns out” that the mini-van took a different route that day than usual, and therefore I would have not found that mini-van that day where I had expected…” (M.A.)