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Shelach

At the insistence of the Beney Yisrael, and with HaShem's permission, Moshe sends twelve scouts, one from each tribe, to investigate Canaan. Anticipating trouble, Moshe changes Hoshea's name to Yehoshua, expressing a prayer that HaShem should not let him fail in his mission. They return 40 days later, carrying unusually large fruit. When ten of the twelve scouts state that the people in Canaan are as formidable as the fruit, the men are discouraged. Kalev and Yehoshua, the only two scouts still in favor of the invasion, try to bolster the spirit of the people. The nation, however, decides that the Land is not worth the potentially fatal risks, and instead they demand a return to Egypt! HaShem is `angered' by this attitude, but is eventually `placated' by Moshe's fervent prayers. However, He declares that the nation must remain in the desert for 40 years until the men who wept at the false report of the scouts pass away.

A remorseful group, regretting their previous mistake, rashly begins an invasion of the Land based on HaShem's original command. Moshe warns them not to proceed, but they fail to heed this warning, and are massacred. HaShem instructs Moshe concerning the offerings that will be made when the Beney Yisrael will finally enter the Land of Israel. The people are commanded to remove chalah, a donation for the Kohanim, from their dough. The laws for an offering after an inadvertent sin, for an individual person or a group, are explained. However, should someone blaspheme against HaShem and be unrepentant, he will be cut off spiritually from his people. One man is found gathering wood on public property in violation of the laws of Shabat and is put to death. The laws of tsitsit are taught, and twice a day we recite this section of the Parashah because it reminds us of our Exodus.


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