Blog Shelach Lekha Sivan 26 5779 בלוג שְׁלַח-לְךָ, כ”ו סיון תשע”ט
A Tribute to our Righteous Gentiles!
Shelach Lekha is the portion in which twelves scouts were sent to reconnoiter the land that the Creator was going to give to the people of Israel. If the Creator said that He was giving them the land, what happened? There is a lesson for us here – the Creator gives us principles, but we need to act upon them. The living Torah teaches us four basic steps for our walk with Him: 1) Emunah – His gift of faith to us. 2) Bitachon – as we take a step of faith, we learn to trust Him. 3) Bechirah Chofshit – we use His gift of Free Will to make choices for good as we learn to think for ourselves. 4) Kavanah – finally understanding that He knows the intention of our hearts – we are responsible for our actions. Don’t wait for your rabbi to tell you what to do. Ask people for advice, keep an open mind and then make a decision.
Instead of speaking about the spies today, I’d like to focus upon those in our community, who are not Israelite by birth, whom I call our “silent heroes”. You have decided to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob even though you were not born Jewish. Now you are one of us, equal in every sense, aligned with one of the thirteen tribes. The Creator accepts you and it is He who gives you your calling.
In this portion, our two heroes are Yehoshua ben Nun (Joshua) and Calev ben Yefunneh (Caleb). Calev means “from the heart”; it also means “dog” showing us that it was not an Israelite name. He was a righteous gentile, who acted better than the Israelites themselves. We know that Calev was a Kenezite, a descendant of Edom, not an Israelite because the Torah writes that he was going to inherit Hebron. If he was an Israelite, he would not need to inherit any land. In spite of this, he was chosen to be the prince of the tribe or tribes, Judah or Yehudah from which is derived the word, Yehudim – “Jews”. No matter which tribe we are from, even Levites, we are still all called Jews. Our sages hide the fact that Calev was not a Jew, preferring to exalt the Jewish people and refusing to admit that we are called to serve the rest of humanity. We, Israel are not supposed to put ourselves at the top, rather we are to help others to reach the top; instead, we have been contaminated by this world’s philosophy of being “Number 1”.
Biblical Judaism is not a religion; it is a way of life. The Creator gave us the ability to think for ourselves, to have ethics and good values. Today our heads are being filled with sewage instead of the moral values from the Torah. Everyone celebrates debauchery and mocks those who stand for morality and justice.
In Numbers 14, Calev cried out to the people of Israel to not be afraid but to go forward to conquer the land of milk and honey that the LORD would give them. The people saw themselves as nobodies and by doing so, discredited the Creator Himself, Who had been with them all the way. The people cried that it would have been better to die in Egypt and they wanted to return. How many of us have doubted our lives as believers wanting to return to our old ways when things didn’t work out quite as we had hoped? Let’s not blame others for our mistakes but be humble and admit them; that’s when true healing can come. When we have the covering of the Creator, let us not be afraid but keep going. Let us not follow the majority who will lead us to destruction but follow the Creator.
In the Haftarah portion, we read the story of Rachav, the prostitute, who said that her people had heard and knew what our God did by opening the sea and destroying the enemy and that they were afraid of us. Here, an unbeliever of ill-repute was acknowledging the Creator. In this portion, we read of those Gentiles who were not born Israelites but had far more courage than we did. The Israelite princes who were strong warriors, buckled under fear and cried out to appoint another leader to bring them back to Egypt. It is time to say things for what they are. If we are not dedicated to the Torah and to our Bore Olam, we will lose our identity and our calling. It is not about how strong we are; it is about Who is with us! “Not by might nor by power but by my Ruach, my Spirit says the LORD.” Zech. 4:6.
We need to examine ourselves and be grateful to the Goyim Tzaddikim – גוים צדיקים, righteous Gentiles as well as warn our own rabbis that their teaching is wrong. Israel was chosen to be “ohr l’goyim” – light to the world, to give the Torah to the world, not to keep and hide it from the rest of humanity. There are no Noahide laws in the Torah! Examine what it says in Numbers 15:16 “One Torah and one ordinance shall be both for you, and for the stranger who lives with you.”
My dear Gentile friends, you have as much right to observe the Torah as we have; you are part of us, not better or worse because the Creator has also called you. There is no hocus pocus that can convert you, only the Creator can change your heart. The great grandmother of King David, Ruth simply said to Naomi, “Your people will be my people and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16b) That was her conversion process, no hocus pocus. Above all, I want to say how grateful I am to you, our Goyim Tzaddikim who demonstrate strength, loyalty, joy and the desire to serve our God – Blessed be His Name!