<i>Shlach</i>: Seeing Our Thoughts

This week?s Sidrah opens with the incident of the meraglim and closes with the mitzvah of tzitzit. The fact that the Sidrah is framed by these two parshiyot suggests that there may be some relationship between them.

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This week?s Sidrah opens with the incident of the meraglim and closes with the mitzvah of tzitzit. The fact that the Sidrah is framed by these two parshiyot suggests that there may be some relationship between them.

And indeed, when we examine the two parshiyot, we find a verbal similarity. The meraglim were sent ?latur? ? to scout or traverse the land (nowhere is the idea of spying mentioned in the Torah). The parashah of tzitzit instructs us: ?Do not follow after (taturu) your heart and your eyes after which you go astray (zonim).? Here we learn the literal meaning of latur, for Targum Onkelos renders both taturu and zonim with a word derived from the same root ? ta?ah ? ?to go astray.?

Rashi refers to the heart and the eyes as spies for the body: ?The eye sees, the heart desires, and the body commits the sins.? The Torah, however, places the heart (i.e., the mind) first and then mentions the eye. This seems to reveal a profound psychological truth. We see what our minds condition us to see, or simply, we see what our thoughts make us see. The Rorschach test used by psychologists is based on this insight. Some nebulous shape attains a certain configuration because of the way we think. Our thoughts shape our observations.

Unfortunately, when considering Aliyah, our thoughts are often focused on the negative aspects, no differently than in the days of the meraglim. The economic situation, intifada, adjustment difficulties, etc. We must learn to emulate Calev ? ?aloh na?aleh veyarashnu otah,? for with the help of the Almighty ? ?yakhol nukhal.? - We can do it!
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Rabbi James I. Gordon writes from Jerusalem.

Aloh Naaleh is an organization dedicated to building Aliya motivation among North American Jewry. Torah Thoughts contributed by Aloh Naaleh members appear in the Orthodox Union's Torah Insights publication. Contact Aloh Naaleh at aloh-naaleh@aaci.org.il.


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