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The Land of Milk and Honey

By Tzvi Fishman
6/22/2009, 12:00 AM

We mentioned that to rectify the sin of the Spies, who despised the cherished Land, we have to love the Land of Israel more than anywhere else. So here’s another tribute to the Land of Milk and Honey.

The land of milk and honey - South Africa
The land of milk and honey - France
The land of milk and honey - Melbourne
The land of milk and honey - Toronto
The land of milk and honey - Brooklyn

Oops! There must be some mistake. How silly of me! But this is exactly what Korach’s followers maintained. Like the Spies, they too wanted to remain in the wilderness, protected by the miraculous Clouds of Glory, where they could learn Torah in all-year-round air-conditioned comfort, without having to meet the physical challenges and dangers of conquering and settling the Land of Israel. True, Korach and his crowd were top Torah scholars, the heads of the Sanhedrin, but they knew that a new type of leader would be needed upon entry into the Land, so they rebelled against Moshe.

Still, Moshe wanted to give them a second chance to repent before their fate was sealed, so he called them to the Mishkan for a meeting. As it says:

“And Moshe sent to call Datan and Aviram, the sons of Eliav, but they said, ‘We will not come up (lo n’aleh); is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, and you will make yourself a prince over us?....Lo n’aleh!’” (Bamidbar, 16:12-14)

“Lo n’aleh!” they told him. We won’t make aliyah! Not only that. They called Egypt the land flowing with milk and honey! In their craving to stay in the safety of the Clouds of Glory and hold on to their positions of leadership, they turned Egypt into the Promised Land! Gevalt!

The land of milk and honey - Egypt

Because they rejected the Land, the land swallowed them up. They were swallowed up physically, but a person can also be swallowed up culturally and morally too, by the influences of the foreign culture around him, and by personal cravings foreign to the Torah.

A friend of mine who recently returned from a short trip to New York on a family matter told me that one day, while walking along a New York City sidewalk, he heard a small voice coming from below the street. When he went over and put his ear to the manhole covering, he heard voices calling out from the depths, “Fishman told the truth! Fishman told the truth!”

"Fishman told the truth!"

What a shame they didn’t listen.