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A Dvar Torah for Parshah Shelach

Our Dvar Torah: Tzaddikim Live Forever

A Dvar Torah for Parsha Shelach

By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman ben Ya'akov © June 20, 2020

RAV BERLAND, the holy tzadik and rabbi of our dear Rabbi Shalom Arush, teaches us something very important from this parsha.

In Parsha Shelach all of the Israelites heard the prophecy that Moshe Rebbeinu would die. The people loved their great leader and they wept bitterly at the thought that he might leave them. All the people were panicking, some of them were trembling from fright, everyone was sobbing – they said: “If we enter the land, then Moshe is going to die!”
This was their mindset at the time. Rav Natan explains that the controversy between the “spies” and Yehoshua Bin Nun boiled down to this. The spies in effect said: “We love Moshe Rabbenu, we want Moshe Rabbenu to live! We don’t want to part from him.” They determined that if entering the Holy Land would result in his death, they would prefer to forego the Holy Land! They were prepared to continue wandering in the desert to spare the life of their leader and spiritual father. Their intentions were good! In their minds they were remaining loyal to their beloved Rebbe. Very good! We might think. However... we must always bend the knee to HaShem and His Will no matter how difficult it may be for us. This they failed to do. Their emunah was lacking and so despite the best of intentions they found themselves opposing the Will of HaShem.

The Ari HaKodesh says, in Shaar HaPesukim, on Parshat Shelach, that this was the terrible argument between the spies and Yehoshua. Due to their lack of emunah the spies insulted Yehoshua Bin Nun, the anointed of HaShem! They accused, “Don't lie to us! You heard the prophecy that Moshe is going to die and that you will enter the land in his place! It is this reason you want to enter Eretz Y'israel, so that your rebbe will die and you will replace him! Such a terrible accusation!

This is what they accused Yehoshua of! Can you imagine! “You just want your rebbe to die, because you want to inherit his authority, you want to be the leader!”

But hear the reply of Yehoshua. He said, “Moshe is alive! Moshe is chai v’kayam (alive and ever present in the world)! Don't you understand yet that there is no such thing as Moshe dying, Moshe can’t die! Ever!”

Yehoshua Bin Nun explained to the spies that Moshe Rabbenu will live on forever despite his physical death and that he will lead the people forever!

But the spies and the rest of the people did not understand this vital truth. They were judging with their physical eyes rather than with their spiritual ones!

Understand this my friends: The soul is eternal! While it is true that we will all pass from these physical forms eventually, from this incarnation, but our soul is eternal and undying! Even in this life just see how we have changed! Most of us can no longer run along the sands of a beach nor climb trees as we once did when we were young. No, we have changed. We have learned and developed in so many ways, but our bodies are, or one day will, cease to keep up with the child who still dwells within us still. The only constant in life is change and death is merely a changing from one form to another. There is nothing to fear.

A soul who achieves a high level of devekut, or attachment to the Beloved, can never loose that attachment. It travels on with the Soul. Even when such a tzadik abandons his or her body, by choice, violence or old age, know that in reality there is no death! Death is only the Soul changing costumes for the next scene! The tzadikim are chai v’kayam, alive and ever present in the world!

But the spies didn’t believe that Moshe Rabbenu was immortal, and that his words and his leadership was chai v’kayam – that it would last and endure for ever and ever. This was their failing. They did not grasp that he could be revealed in each and every person at any moment because he has achieved such a great level of devekut., great than anyone else before of after him!

Because they wanted Moshe Rabbenu to stay alive, physically, because they wanted the ‘body’ of Moshe Rabbenu to stay with them, they made him corporal. The made the whole matter of Moshe materialistic, and they turned Moshe Rabbenu into a failing body rather than a limitless eternal Soul.

But Calev is our example! He avoided the debating and the finger pointing and sought to understand the truth of what was happening. It was for this reason, as Rav Natan explains, that the truth was revealed to him at the Cave of Machpelah, the Cave of the Patriarchs: Those who achieve devekut are not bound by time nor space. They are not bound by their bodies. They are eternal and free even now because they have tasted the fruit of the Olam Haba. The tzadikim are free and they live in and through eternity. Attaching oneself to such as tzaddik as our beloved Rebbe Nachman of Breslov is Way of Wisdom, Peace, and Eternal Life.

This shuir was inspired by the wisdom of Rav Berland as found at https://ravberland.com.

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