GrowTorah Core Value: Incubating Emunah

The Meraglim's report on Eretz Israel highlights the downsides to an otherwise beautiful land. But Yehoshua and Caleb's faith in Hashem refocuses their love of the land. How can we strengthen our optimism and faith in Hashem and use that to guide our relationship to the Earth?

Lesson Title: Meraglim

וּמָ֣ה הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־הוּא֙ יֹשֵׁ֣ב בָּ֔הּ הֲטוֹבָ֥ה הִ֖וא אִם־רָעָ֑ה וּמָ֣ה הֶֽעָרִ֗ים אֲשֶׁר־הוּא֙ יוֹשֵׁ֣ב בָּהֵ֔נָּה הַבְּמַֽחֲנִ֖ים אִ֥ם בְּמִבְצָרִֽים׃ וּמָ֣ה הָ֠אָרֶץ הַשְּׁמֵנָ֨ה הִ֜וא אִם־רָזָ֗ה הֲיֵֽשׁ־בָּ֥הּ עֵץ֙ אִם־אַ֔יִן וְהִ֨תְחַזַּקְתֶּ֔ם וּלְקַחְתֶּ֖ם מִפְּרִ֣י הָאָ֑רֶץ וְהַ֨יָּמִ֔ים יְמֵ֖י בִּכּוּרֵ֥י עֲנָבִֽים׃
Is the country in which they dwell good or bad? Are the towns they live in open or fortified? Is the soil rich or poor? Is it wooded or not? And take pains to bring back some of the fruit of the land.”—Now it happened to be the season of the first ripe grapes.

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

Which of these questions could be asked about our garden?

How would you respond both positively and negatively to these questions?

וַיָּבֹ֜אוּ עַד־נַ֣חַל אֶשְׁכֹּ֗ל וַיִּכְרְת֨וּ מִשָּׁ֤ם זְמוֹרָה֙ וְאֶשְׁכּ֤וֹל עֲנָבִים֙ אֶחָ֔ד וַיִּשָּׂאֻ֥הוּ בַמּ֖וֹט בִּשְׁנָ֑יִם וּמִן־הָרִמֹּנִ֖ים וּמִן־הַתְּאֵנִֽים׃
They reached the wadi Eshcol, and there they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes—it had to be borne on a carrying frame by two of them—and some pomegranates and figs.

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

Which plants would you bring back if you were scouting our garden?

וַיְסַפְּרוּ־לוֹ֙ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ בָּ֕אנוּ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֣ר שְׁלַחְתָּ֑נוּ וְ֠גַם זָבַ֨ת חָלָ֥ב וּדְבַ֛שׁ הִ֖וא וְזֶה־פִּרְיָֽהּ׃
This is what they told him: “We came to the land you sent us to; it does indeed flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
זבת חלב ודבש הוא. כָּל דְּבַר שֶׁקֶר שֶׁאֵין אוֹמְרִים בּוֹ קְצָת אֱמֶת בִּתְחִלָּתוֹ, אֵין מִתְקַיֵּם בְּסוֹפוֹ:
זבת חלב ודבש [WE CAME INTO THE LAND … AND SURELY] IT FLOWETH WITH MILK AND HONEY — They stated this because no fabricated statement in which one does not say at least some true words at first can in the end be maintained (Sotah 35a).
וגם זבת חלב ודבש הוא בעבור שצוה אותם לראות השמנה היא אם רזה השיבו לו כי היא שמנה וגם זבת חלב ודבש היא ועל שאלתו היש בה עץ אם אין השיבו לו וזה פריה כי כן צוה אותם להראותו והנה בכל זה אמרו אמת והשיבו על מה שנצטוו והיה להם לאמר שהעם היושב עליה עז והערים בצורות כי יש להם להשיב אמרי אמת לשולחם כי כן צוה אותם החזק הוא הרפה הבמחנים אם במבצרים אבל רשעם במלת אפס שהיא מורה על דבר אפס ונמנע מן האדם שאי אפשר בשום ענין כלשון האפס לנצח חסדו (תהלים עז ט) ואין עוד אפס אלהים (ישעיהו מה יד) והנה אמרו לו הארץ שמנה וגם זבת חלב ודבש והפרי טוב אבל אי אפשר לבא אליהם כי עז העם והערים בצורות גדולות מאד וגם ילידי הענק ראינו שם:
And it indeed flows with milk and honey: Since [Moshe] commanded them to see, "Is [the land] fertile or poor," they answered him that it is fertile "and it indeed flows with milk and honey." And to his question, "Does it have trees or not," they answered, "And this is its fruit." For thus did he command them to [inspect] it. And note that they spoke truthfully in all of this, and answered what he commanded. And [likewise] was it right for them to say that "the people who inhabit the country are powerful, and the cities are fortified." For they were to answer truthful words to the one who sent them. And it was this that he commanded them: "[Are the people who dwell in it] strong or weak; [... are the towns they live in] open or fortified?" Rather their evil was with the word, "however" (efes, which also means nothing or nonexistent), which indicates a thing's nothingness and inaccessibility to a person in that it is impossible in any way. [This is] like the usage (in Psalms 77:9), "Has His kindness disappeared (heafes) forever"; and in Isaiah 45:14, "and there is no other God at all (efes)." So behold, what they said to him was, "It is fertile 'and it indeed flows with milk and honey,' and the fruits are good; however it is impossible to get to them, because 'the people [...] are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large; moreover, we saw the Anakites there.'"
(ו) וִיהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן וְכָלֵב֙ בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּ֔ה מִן־הַתָּרִ֖ים אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ קָרְע֖וּ בִּגְדֵיהֶֽם׃ (ז) וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ אֶל־כָּל־עֲדַ֥ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָבַ֤רְנוּ בָהּ֙ לָת֣וּר אֹתָ֔הּ טוֹבָ֥ה הָאָ֖רֶץ מְאֹ֥ד מְאֹֽד׃ (ח) אִם־חָפֵ֥ץ בָּ֙נוּ֙ יְהוָ֔ה וְהֵבִ֤יא אֹתָ֙נוּ֙ אֶל־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֔את וּנְתָנָ֖הּ לָ֑נוּ אֶ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־הִ֛וא זָבַ֥ת חָלָ֖ב וּדְבָֽשׁ׃
(6) And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, of those who had scouted the land, rent their clothes (7) and exhorted the whole Israelite community: “The land that we traversed and scouted is an exceedingly good land. (8) If the LORD is pleased with us, He will bring us into that land, a land that flows with milk and honey, and give it to us;

Living the Lesson

אַֽל־תַּעֲל֔וּ כִּ֛י אֵ֥ין יְהוָ֖ה בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וְלֹא֙ תִּנָּ֣גְפ֔וּ לִפְנֵ֖י אֹיְבֵיכֶֽם׃

Do not go up, lest you be routed by your enemies, for the LORD is not in your midst.

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

What do both the Ma'apilim and Meraglim teach us about the connection between faith in Hashem and love of the land?

  • Faith in Hashem needs to be a lens through which to view the land, guiding us to love it and appreciate it no matter what.

GrowTorah Core Value: Incubating Emunah

Lesson Title: Challah

(יח) דַּבֵּר֙ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ אֲלֵהֶ֑ם בְּבֹֽאֲכֶם֙ אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֛י מֵבִ֥יא אֶתְכֶ֖ם שָֽׁמָּה׃ (יט) וְהָיָ֕ה בַּאֲכָלְכֶ֖ם מִלֶּ֣חֶם הָאָ֑רֶץ תָּרִ֥ימוּ תְרוּמָ֖ה לַיהוָֽה׃ (כ) רֵאשִׁית֙ עֲרִסֹ֣תֵכֶ֔ם חַלָּ֖ה תָּרִ֣ימוּ תְרוּמָ֑ה כִּתְרוּמַ֣ת גֹּ֔רֶן כֵּ֖ן תָּרִ֥ימוּ אֹתָֽהּ׃ (כא) מֵרֵאשִׁית֙ עֲרִסֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם תִּתְּנ֥וּ לַיהוָ֖ה תְּרוּמָ֑ה לְדֹרֹ֖תֵיכֶֽם׃ (ס)

(18) Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land to which I am taking you (19) and you eat of the bread of the land, you shall set some aside as a gift to the LORD: (20) as the first yield of your baking, you shall set aside a loaf as a gift; you shall set it aside as a gift like the gift from the threshing floor. (21) You shall make a gift to the LORD from the first yield of your baking, throughout the ages.

ר' הונא בשם ר' מתנה אמר בזכות ג' דברים נברא העולם בזכות חלה ובזכות מעשרות ובזכות בכורים ומה טעם "בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹקִים" ואין ראשית אלא חלה שנאמר (במדבר טו, כ): "רֵאשִׁית עֲרִסֹתֵכֶם" ואין ראשית אלא מעשרות היך דאת אמר (דברים יח, ד): "ראשית דגנך" ואין ראשית אלא בכורים שנאמר (שמות כג, יט): "ראשית בכורי אדמתך וגו'":

Rabbi Hunna said in the name of Rabbi Matanah: The world was created in the merit of three things--challah, tithes, and first fruits. The verse "In the beginning God created" refers to challah, as it says (Numbers 15:20): "The beginning of your doughs." It also refers to tithes, as it says (Deuteronomy 18:4): "The beginning of your grains." It also refers to first fruits, as it says (Exodus 23:19): "The beginning of the fruits of the land."

(יז) רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה אוֹמֵר, אִם אֵין תּוֹרָה, אֵין דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ. אִם אֵין דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ, אֵין תּוֹרָה. אִם אֵין חָכְמָה, אֵין יִרְאָה. אִם אֵין יִרְאָה, אֵין חָכְמָה. אִם אֵין בִּינָה, אֵין דַּעַת. אִם אֵין דַּעַת, אֵין בִּינָה. אִם אֵין קֶמַח, אֵין תּוֹרָה. אִם אֵין תּוֹרָה, אֵין קֶמַח.

(17) Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah says: If there is no Torah, there is no worldly occupation; if there is no worldly occupation, there is no Torah. If there is no wisdom, there is no fear; if there is no fear, there is no wisdom. If there is no understanding, there is no knowledge; if there is no knowledge, there is no understanding. If there is no flour, there is no Torah; if there is no Torah, there is no flour.

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

Why is the mitzvah of Hafrashat Challah particularly important?

How does working in the garden help you understand the importance of appreciating our food?

Living the Lesson

הפרש חלה שיש בין חלת ארץ ישראל לחלת חוצה לארץ. ובו ה' סעיפים:
מצוה עשה להפריש תרומה מהעיסה וליתנה לכהן שנאמר ראשית עריסותיכם תרימו תרומה וראשית זה אין לו שיעור מן התורה אפילו הפריש כשעורה פטר את העיסה והעושה כל עיסתו חלה לא עשה כלום עד שישייר מקצת ומדברי סופרים מפרישין אחד מכ"ד מן העיסה והנחתום העושה למכור בשוק מפריש א' ממ"ח ואם נטמאה העיסה בשוגג או באונס אף בעל הבית מפריש אחד ממ"ח:
SEPARATION OF CHALLAH: WHETHER CHALLAH OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL OR CHALLAH OF THE DIASPORA - CONTAINING 5 SECTIONS: It is a positive commandment to separate a contribution from the dough and to give it to priest, as it is said: "the first of your dough you shall contribute [as] a contribution" (Num. 15:20) - and "first" - this does not have a [specific] amount from the Torah - even if one separated [an amount] like a grain of barley has exempted the dough. And one who make all of one's dough challah has done nothing until one leaves over some. And from the words of the Sages, we separate 1/24 of the dough, and a baker who makes [it] to sell in the market separates 1/48. And if the dough becomes ritually impure by accident or compulsion [i.e. forces out of one's control], even the householder separates 1/48.

משרשי המצוה. לפי שחיותו של אדם במזונות ורב העולם יחיו בלחם, רצה המקום לזכותנו במצוה תמידית בלחמנו, כדי שתנוח ברכה בו על ידי המצוה ונקבל בה זכות בנפשנו, ונמצאת העסה מזון לגוף ומזון לנפש

It is from the roots of the commandment [that it is that] since the sustenance of a person is through food and most of the world will be sustained with bread, the Omnipresent desired to give us merit with a constant commandment in our bread, so that blessing should rest upon it through the commandment; and through it, we will receive merit for our souls. And [hence] it turns out that the dough is food for our body and food for our soul.

GUIDING QUESTIONS:

How do we perform Hafrashat Challah today?

  • We still separate a small portion of the dough when making challah

How do we transform all of the food we eat in our garden into "food for our body and food for our soul," as the Sefer HaChinuch writes?