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Audio: Of Parshat Sh'lach, Torah Tidbits, and...

"It's a lovely place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."
6/13/2014, 11:02 AM

A7 Radio's "Torah Tidbits Audio" with Phil Chernofsky
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Of Sh'lach, Torah Tidbits, and...

This is the 23rd time that the Torah Tidbits hardcopy newsletter is being offered for Parshat Sh'lach. The first time - as we have often recounted - was printed in 60 copies on a photocopier that allowed two-color printing (in a very primitive way). The original was printed on a 9-pin dot matrix printer and the copies were printed on pale yellow paper. There was a poor- quality graphic of two spies carrying the cluster of grapes... distribution was in two shuls. This week's Sh'lach TT has 64 pages, 9700 copies, full color on chromo paper, several hundred shuls, website (, Torah Tidbits Audio on the website, on and on Arutz-7's web site. Baruch HaShem. TT trivia - Way back, before we started sending TT via email, we needed a license from the Education committee of the Knesset - which we got. We did not choose Sh'lach on purpose to launch Torah Tidbits, but there are no coincidences.

Sh'lach set a tone for Torah Tidbits that continues unabated throughout the years. Sadly, the "it's a lovely place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" attitude of the Meraglim is alive and well to this very day. But on the positive side, so is the call of Kalev to Jews of every generation: ALO NAALEH V'YARASHNU... Let us go up (ALIYA) to that Land... because we surely can do it. A bit later, he and Yehoshua said to the people (then and today): The Land is very, very good... if this is what HaShem wants for us, then we have nothing to fear... That very first Torah Tidbit spoke of the mitzva of Bikurim being the TIKUN (repair, antidote) for the Sin of the Spies. They took fruit of the Land and praised the Land's bounty. The one who brings Bikurim to the Mikdash also takes fruit of the Land and compliments the Land. Dor HaMidbar said, let's choose a new leader and go back to Egypt. The Bikurim bringer recalls G-d's having taken us out of Egypt and having brought us to Eretz Yisrael. The generation of the Wilderness were anything but happy about the prospects of going to Eretz Yisrael. The Torah tells the Bikurim bringer to rejoice in all the good that HaShem has provided him. From the fruit (as R' Menachem Zemba HY"D pointed out, the fruits that the Meraglim brought to show the people are exactly the same three fruits that the mishna in Bikurim uses as an example of preparing Bikurim) to the words to the feelings, the Meraglim and their generation stand in stark contrast to the Bikurim bringer. Bikurim is truly a TIKUN for CHEIT HAMERAGLIM. And so is Aliya, planning Aliya, and a positive attitude of Jews not yet ready for that great mitzva.

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Phil Chernofsky is the educational director of the Orthodox Union's OU Israel Center in Jerusalem and editor of the Torah Tidbits parsha pamphlet. Since 1998, he has hosted Torah Tidbits Audio, a shiur on the weekly parsha with witty insights. It airs every Thursday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Israel time and is downloadable as a podcast on Israel National Radio. Phil made Aliyah to Israel over 30 years ago. He is the author of the newly released book And Every Single One Was Someone, a tribute to victims of the Holocaust.
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