כל הנביאים נסתכלו באספקלריא שאינה מאירה
משה רבינו נסתכל באספקלריא המאירה

“All the prophets saw through an obscure glass,
Moshe Rabbeinu saw through a clear glass.”
Yevamot 49b [1]

 

There is a story told in the Talmud of R’ Elazar ben Shimon, 

“An incident occurred in which Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, came from Migdal Gedor, from his rabbi’s house, and he was riding on a donkey and strolling on the bank of the river. And he was very happy, and his head was swollen with pride because he had studied much Torah. He happened upon an exceedingly ugly person, who said to him: “Greetings to you, my rabbi,” but Rabbi Elazar did not return his greeting. Instead, Rabbi Elazar said to him: “Worthless [reika] person, how ugly is that man. Are all the people of your city as ugly as you?” The man said to him: “I do not know, but you should go and say to the Craftsman Who made me: ‘How ugly is the vessel you made.’” When Rabbi Elazar realized that he had sinned and insulted this man merely on account of his appearance, he descended from his donkey and prostrated himself before him, and he said to the man: “I have sinned against you; forgive me.”
Taanit 20a-b, The William Davidson Talmud, Sefaria.org [2]

In this surprising account, R’ Elazar judges a man based on his external appearance. The man’s reply displays an inner beauty and holiness that elicits an immediate response of teshuvah, repentance, on the part of R’ Shimon. The brilliant scholar Brad H. Young observes,

“When he made his stinging insult, he failed to see each person as created in the image of God. The ugly man, on the other hand, perhaps because of life experience, had come to realize the deeper significance of the story of creation – every human being, attractive or otherwise, has the divine image superimposed. Each person is crafted according to plan by the master designer.”
Brad H. Young, The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christan Interpretation, Kindle Edition

While we may be tempted to think less of the Rabbi, the story is relevant for us today. How many of us have made fun of someone’s physical appearance? While this ancient episode cuts a critique across cultures, it has special potency for ours, which has placed an undue emphasis on externality and looks. Interestingly, Jewish tradition has a blessing upon seeing exceptionally strange looking people,

ברוך אתה ה׳ אלקינו מלך העולם משנה הבריות
Baruch Atah HaShem, Elokeinu Melech HaOlam,
m’shaneh habriyot.
“Blessed are You, HaShem our God, King of the universe,
Who makes the creatures different.”
The Complete Artscroll Siddur, Nusach Sefard, Mesorah Publishing Ltd., pg. 245

So, instead of gawking, pointing, whispering and laughing, the energy of one’s initial reaction is turned toward HaShem and the grandeur of His Design. Similarly, when we see an exceptionally beautiful person, the cultural response is similar, pointing, whispering and whistling, etc. All of this energy is also turned toward blessing Heaven,

ברוך אתה ה׳ אלקינו מלך העולם שככה לו בעולמו
Baruch Atah HaShem, Elokeinu Melech HaOlam,
shekacha lo b’Olamo.
“Blessed are You, HaShem our God, King of the universe,
Who has such in his universe.”
The Complete Artscroll Siddur, Nusach Sefard, Mesorah Publishing Ltd., pg. 245

Our culture has trained us to trust our eyes, to believe our external senses. This is why we are amazed and baffled when a street magician performs a trick or illusion. Our eyes deceive us because pertinent information is concealed. My father always taught me, “Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see,” or in the words of R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotzk,

“The truth is not necessarily how things appear.”

Shlach Lecha

Parashat Shlach Lecha (Numbers 13:1–15:41) opens with a puzzling statement,

Send for yourself men so that they may search the land of Canaan.”
Numbers 13:2

It appears that HaShem commanded Israel to undertake this mission, which spiraled out of control and ended in absolute disaster. For forty days, the meraglim, spies, went throughout the Holy Land gathering reconnaissance. However, a closer inspection of the text reveals a deeper understanding. The words “shlach lecha” mean “send for yourself.” HaShem does not say “send men so that they may search out Canaan.” It says “Send for yourself.” According to R’ Ari Kahn, the proper way to read this parasha is to read it in conjunction with Parashat Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22). This angle reveals Moshe’s perspective, including an additional detail absent from the reading in Numbers,

“You approached me, every one of you, and said, ‘Let’s send men ahead of us to explore the country for us and bring back word concerning what route we should use in going up and what the cities we will encounter are like.’
Deuteronomy 1:22

In other words, this was not a command from HaShem, nor was it His idea. The “send for yourself” is equivalent to HaShem saying, “I have already told you the land is good, flowing with milk and honey. If you do not want to take My word for it, check it out yourself.” The root of this spy mission was lack of faith. Hebrews says,

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it, the elders obtained a good report.”
Hebrews 11:1-2

Near the end of their mission, they down a large cluster of grapes, and brought it back to the people,

 “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.”

The next word, however, lives in infamy: But. However. Efes in Hebrew. These words were intended to cancel all of the Good News about the Land. The ten spies essentially said, “If you think the fruit is GIGANTIC just wait until you see the people!”  

But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
Numbers 13:28, NIV

Fear gripped Israel. People began to panic, moan and cry revealing their faithlessness. Wasn’t this the very generation who came out of Egypt, who saw with their own eyes the Mighty Hand of HaShem? The Ten Plagues? The Red Sea splitting allowing them to cross on dry land? For each of the forty days the meraglim spent in the Land, the generation was cursed to spend a year in the Wilderness. This happened on the ninth day of the fifth month of Av. In Hebrew, this is called Tisha b’Av. The Talmud says,

“On the Ninth of Av, it was decreed that our fathers should not enter the land.”
Taanit 29a, Soncino Press Edition

On this day, many calamities have happened to the Jewish people, 

    • 1400 BCE – Evil Report of the Ten Spies
    • 586 BCE – First Temple Destroyed
    • 70 CE – Second Temple Destroyed
    • 71 CE – Jerusalem Razed to the Ground
    • 132 CE – Bar Koziba’s Revolt Against Rome Failed
    • 1290 CE – Jews Expelled from England
    • 1492 CE – Expulsion of the Jews from England (began on the 7th of Av)
    • 1942 CE – Mass Deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka
    • 20?? – Antichrist defiles God’s Temple? (2 Thessalonians 2:4) 

The Talmud says this is a day of mourning, and states whoever mourns for Jerusaem will rejoice with her,

“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad with her, all who love her; rejoice for joy with her, all who mourn for her” (Isaiah 66:10). From here it is stated: “Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will merit and see her future joy, and whoever does not mourn for Jerusalem will not see her future joy.”
Taanit 30b, William Davidson Talmud, Sefaria.org [3]

Tisha b’Av is referenced in the book of Zechariah, which says this fast day will become a festival in the times of Messiah,

“Thus says HaShem Tzevaot, ‘The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months shall be for the House of Judah for joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts. Therefore, love truth and peace.”
Zechariah 8:19

The future of the fasts will be joyous because the Temple will be rebuilt by the Bridegroom (the Messiah) who will be with us. When the Bridegroom is with us, we will not fast, but feast! Until then, we mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples, and hope to see the new Temple in our lifetime. The Sabbath preceding Tisha b’Av is called Shabbat Chazon, the Sabbath of Vision. It takes its name from the Haftarah that is read on that day, which is Isaiah 1:1-2:7,

חֲזוֹן, יְשַׁעְיָהוּ בֶן-אָמוֹץ, אֲשֶׁר חָזָה, עַל-יְהוּדָה וִירוּשָׁלִָם–בִּימֵי עֻזִּיָּהוּ יוֹתָם אָחָז יְחִזְקִיָּהוּ, מַלְכֵי יְהוּדָה

“The vision (chazon) of Yeshayahu ben Amotz which he saw regarding Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uziyahu, Yotam, Achaz, Hezekiah, the Kings of Judah.”
Isaiah 1:1

It is on this day we visualize the New Temple, hoping to receive it in our lifetimes, and see it with our own eyes. R’ Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev gives a parable,

“A father once prepared a beautiful suit of clothes for his son. But the child neglected his father’s gift and soon the suit was in tatters. The father gave the child a second suit of clothes; this one, too, was ruined by the child’s carelessness. So the father made a third suit. This time, however, he withholds it from his son. Every once in a while, on special and opportune times, he shows the suit to the child, explaining that when the child learns to appreciate and properly care for the gift, it will be given to him. This induces the child to improve his behavior, until it gradually becomes second nature to him – at which time he will be worthy of his father’s gift.”
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, Shabbat of Vision, Chabad.org [4]

Giants

Returning to the spies, the data itself from the report of the spies was not a lie. There were giants in the land. However, the problem arises with the interpretation of this data. They continued,

 “Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
Numbers 13:31-33, ESV

Giants can be found in multiple world mythologies from East to West. Colossal sizes and fantastic feats characterize these larger-than-life stories. The Biblical accounts of “giants” have invited skepticism and ridicule, leading some to conclude that, like these myths, the Bible itself is mythological, and that believers are gullible.  Is this true? Leaving behind folklore, let us examine what the Bible actually says. The sixth chapter of Genesis first mentions this concept,

“When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then HaShem said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came into the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”
Genesis 6:1-4, ESV

This is an unusual text giving rise to a wide array of interpretations. The term Bnei Elokim, sons of God, has been explained naturally as referring to the sons of Seth who married the daughters of Cain. Wild interpretations refer to the Bnei Elokim as extraterrestrials! 

However, according to the Book of Enoch, the ‘sons of God’ refer to a class of angelic beings named Watchers. They descended upon Mount Hermon and had intercourse with human females, begetting Nephilim, which means “Fallen Ones”. This happened before the Flood in great numbers, and after the Flood on a smaller scale. The idea of heavenly beings descending upon a mountain top, having relations with human women and begetting heroes of old may actually be the origin of Greek mythology, where the ‘gods’ descend upon Mount Olympus and beget ‘heroes’ with human women. While the world mythologies are just fantastic legends, there may be a deeply buried kernel of truth encased in legend which provided a foundation for these stories to be woven and embellished. 

The Greek word ‘giga’ is the etymological root of the word ‘giant’ which is first attested around the year 1297 CE. Today, when we think of giants, we think of humanoids the size of King Kong and Godzilla. When someone reads the Bible superficially and thinks of giants, these creatures from Hollywood come to mind. Could a hominid the size of King Kong even exist? 

Unless their bones were made of reinforced steel, the answer is no. The reason for this is gravity and scale-cube law as Dr. Michio Kaku explains,

“If King Kong really existed, he would not be able to terrorize New York City. On the contrary, his legs would break as soon as he took a single step. This is because if you take an ape and increase his (height) by 10 times, then his weight would go up by the increased volume, 10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000 times. So he would be 1,000 times heavier. But his strength increases … only 100 times…He would be, relatively speaking, 10 times weaker than a normal ape.”
Physics of the Impossible, Michio Kaku, pg. 142-143

The largest primate thought to exist was the Gigantopithecus Blacki [5], who may have been close to 10 ft (3m) tall, although this is disputed. Instead of being Godzilla sized in height, the Biblical text seems to indicate a range for the height of a giant to range from 7 to roughly 10 feet tall (2.13 meters to 3 meters). The Bible describes Og, King of Bashan, as follows,

“Og king of Bashan was the last survivor of the Refaim. His bed was made of iron; it is still in Rabbah with the people of Amon. It was nine cubits long and four cubits wide, using the normal cubit [thirteen-and-a-half by six feet].”
Deuteronomy 3:11

Note that it does not say that Og himself was 13 feet tall, but that his bed was that size. He was obviously smaller than his bed. The Greek historian Herodotus (484 – 425 BCE), records in his Histories, Book 1:68 [6], an incident where a man named Lichas supposedly found the tomb of Orestes in Tegea, which was 3.73 meters or 12 feet long and bones inside to match the size. Plutarch (46 – 119 CE) mentions the body of Theseus [7] as being larger than normal. The geographer Pausanias (110 – 180 CE) wrote of a character named Ajax the Great who had kneecaps 12 centimeters in diameter [8]. A normal kneecap is about 5 centimeters, meaning he must have been very tall. However, the story of Ajax is interwoven with mythology, and it is difficult to accept these descriptions at face value. Knowing that the size range of 7 to 10 feet is within the realm of physics, is it within the realm of biology?

The tallest human documented in modern times is the “Alton Giant”, Robert Pershing Wadlow [5], who was 8’11” at the time of his passing at age 22! Without photos, one may surmise that Robert Wadlow’s story was exaggerated. However, he was afflicted with gigantism, a medical condition caused by an overproduction of human growth hormone. Dr. Ian Chapman explains,

“The person’s facial features become coarse, and the hands and feet swell. Larger rings, gloves, shoes, and hats are needed. Overgrowth of the jawbone (mandible) can cause the jaw to protrude (prognathism). Cartilage in the voice box (larynx) may thicken, making the voice deep and husky.”
Gigantism and Acromegaly, Ian M. Chapman, MBBS, PhD, Professor of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Royal Adelaide Hospital [9]

This in no way implies that those dealing with the physical condition of acromegaly or gigantism are somehow the descendants of Nephilim. It only illustrates that the Biblical portrayal of ‘giants’ is completely within the realm of scientific plausibility in both physics and biology. This illustrates that the Biblical portrayal is not mythological and the challenges that Israel faced were anchored in reality. When they took their eyes off of HaShem and focused on armored giants defending walled cities, their circumstances appeared insurmountable. They viewed themselves as grasshoppers in the eye of giants.

Grasshoppers


“There we saw the
Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who came from the Nephilim
and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
Numbers 13:3

This statement by the spies reveals the source of their lack of faith – the perception that they were grasshoppers in their own sight. They then projected their self-perception onto the giants themselves! Adam Lieberman says,

“Ironically, the way you see yourself is the exact way in which you’ll think how others feel about you. Remember, as long as you really think of yourself as a grasshopper, you will walk around thinking others view you the same way. Whether you think of yourself as insecure, unattractive, unambitious, or any other negative belief – you will live with the reality that others view you in the exact same way.”
Shlach: Act As If, Adam Lieberman, Aish.com [10]

On some level, we all deal with this on an internal level. This boils down to our own attitude which colors our perception of everything we see, and how we think others see us. Chuck Swindoll makes a powerful statement,

“I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important than my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there is no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me. . . The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.”
Chuck Swindoll [11]

Amy Eilberg says,

“The difference between faith and fear can lie in a slight shift in perspective. And this can make all the difference. . . From the grand perspective at the top of the mountain, with awareness of the role of this land in the history of Israel and in the heart of G-d, they would surely see possibility, a future filled with blessing. From that height, they would know that they could overcome the challenges on the ground. Instead, the spies, overwhelmed by fear, saw only the lowly, limited perspective.”
Amy Eilberg, Jweekly.com, Shlach Lecha: Opening up to a wider, less fearful view [12]

What is remarkable is that the meraglim, and all of Israel, had a Secret Weapon: HaShem Himself. He is truly invincible, and the largest giants in His Eyes were nothing more than grasshopper, as Isaiah says,

“It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers”
Isaiah 40:22

It is easy for us to judge the generation of the Exodus for their lack of faith. They failed, rebelled, and rejected HaShem. But we also must be careful to learn from their example, and open our eyes in our own circumstances to always see the true Reality. 1 Timothy says,

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7

This brings us to our own attitude and what our focus is. If our eyes are fixated upon the giants, then fear and lack of faith is the natural consequence. This will result in us being depressed, afraid, and filled with anxiety. Philippians says,

“Rejoice in HaShem always! Again I will say, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. HaShem is at hand. In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Messiah Yeshua. Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.”
Philippians 4:4-8

We each must ask ourselves “is our cup half-full, or half empty”? It is said if one says “half-empty” they are a pessimist. If “half-full”, they are an optimist. For the believer in HaShem through Yeshua, the right answer is that our cup overflows, 

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in HaShem’s house forever.”
Psalms 23:5-6

For the generation of Moshe, their cup was overflowing with miracles, blessing and salvation. They were gifted the greatest land on earth by the most powerful Being in the universe. This gift is still valid for the Jewish People today. 

 

The Land of Israel


 “So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report
of the land that they had spied out, saying,
“The land, through which we have gone to spy it out,
is a land that devours its inhabitants…”

Numbers 13:32

The meraglim spoke lashon hara, the evil tongue, against the land, saying that it “devours its inhabitants”. There were those who opposed Moshe at every turn, making him the brunt of insults. To the gift of Shabbat, some couldn’t wait for this beautiful gift to be over,

“When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath that we may offer wheat for sale…?”
Amos 8:5

The manna from heaven, the most miraculous food, the “bread of the angels”, some said,

“Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Numbers 11:4-6, ESV

And after the destruction of the Temple, there were those who said, “What great loss have we suffered?” But is there a deeper concept of the land “devouring its inhabitants”? When one eats, the food becomes part of them. In fact, the Torah portrays it as a negative thing that that the land would vomit the people out, which is the opposite of consumption. Leviticus says,

 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.”
Leviticus 18:24-28

Rebbe Nachman comments on this passage and the Tzaddik’s connection to the Holy Land,

“…the Holy Land, which is called “a land that consumes its inhabitants.” When one enters the Land, which is the concept of faith, he is consumed by it – that is, he is transformed into its substance, becoming a man of faith. Similarly, when one is associated with a tzaddik, who is the concept of the Holy Land, he is consumed by the tzaddik and is literally transformed into the tzaddik’s substance – i.e., his good characteristics and deeds.“
Rebbe Nachman’s Torah, Volume 3, Numbers-Deuteronomy, Breslov Research Institute

Rebbe Nachman continues,

“…closeness to the tzaddik is of no benefit to someone who does not wish to come close to God. This is compared to food that cannot be consumed: if a person eats something his body cannot tolerate, then it is neither digested nor transformed into nourishment. Instead, the body vomits it out. One whose motives are impure will not be “consumed” by the tzaddik, but will be rejected by him. So too, the Holy Land ejects those who do not pursue holiness, as it is written, “So the Land will not vomit you out for defiling it, as it vomited out the previous nation” (Leviticus 18:28) (Likutey Moharan I, 129).”
Rebbe Nachman’s Torah, Volume 3, Numbers – Deuteronomy, Breslov Research Institute

The Tzaddik is the embodiment of the Holy Land. He is the essence of Shabbat. He is the Temple in human form. He is the higher-dimensional “bread from Heaven”. He is the Moshe-Mashiach. 

Interestingly, according to teachings of Ariel Cohen Alloro [13], the Biblical heartland of Israel has a special name. It is made up of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. In Hebrew, this would be Yehuda, Shomron v’Aza. This forms the acronym of YESHUA:

יהודה

 Yehuda (Judah)

שמרון

 Shomron (Samaria)

ו

 Ve (And)

עזה

 Aza ( Gaza)

ישוע

 Yeshua


When spies rejected the land, they were rejecting Yeshua, like the anti-missionaries of today. Today, many non-believers call him “Yeshu” which is missing the last letter Ayin (ע). The letter Ayin means “Eye” and has the gematria of 70, which is the number of the non-Jewish nations. It begins the word עשו (Esav), who is the symbol of Christianity. In other words, Esav (Christianity) unknowingly holds the key, the Ayin, to see who the Mashiach is, as he is concealed sitting outside the Gates of Rome. Yeshua was sold for 30 shekels of silver to the Sadducees priests who handed him to Rome. It is time for Rome to return this Ayin to the owners, the Jewish people. 

Furthermore, the letter Ayin (ע) opens the word Aza (Gaza). This is the one part of the land that Israel does not have control over. It is controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. It is the source from which rockets continue to target Israeli citizens. The Torah reveals all of history, past, present and future.  If we were wise enough, we could discern all events, from the personal to the global, through the lens of the Torah. In regard to this recent conflict in Eretz Yisrael, let us look into the Torah to see if we can understand a glimpse of current events. In Genesis 21:20, it says that Ishmael became an “archer” or “bowman”,

“God was with the boy and he grew up; he dwelt in the wilderness and became a bowman.”
Genesis 21:20

Therefore, one of the fundamental characteristics of Ishmael and his descendants who follow his pattern, is that of “archery”. But what is the Hebrew word for “archery” and what does it mean? The Hebrew is Roveh Qashot. R’ Moshe ben Nachman, known as the Ramban (1194 – 1270 CE) explains,

רובה קשת בעבור היות קשת תואר אמרו כי “רובה” הוא המורה החצים מלשון יסבו עלי רביו (איוב טז יג) וימררוהו ורבו (בראשית מ״ט:כ״ג) ו “קשת” הוא העושה הקשתות ויותר נכון ש “רובה” הוא המורה ויאמר על המורה החצים ועל משליך האבנים וזולתם כאשר יאמר אשר יריתי ביני וביניך (בראשית ל״א:נ״א) ולכן יתאר אותו פעם אחרת כי הוא קשת וכן וימצאוהו המורים אנשים בקשת שמואל א לא ג

“ROVEH KASHOTH (AN ARCHER). Since kashoth is an adjective, they have said that roveh is one who shoots arrows, the word being derived from the expressions: “His archers compass me round about; The archers have dealt bitterly with him,” — and kashoth is one who makes arrows.

A more correct interpretation is that roveh is a shooter, and it can refer to one who shoots arrows or throws stones or other objects, even as it is said, Behold this heap… which I have thrown up between me and thee.Therefore, the verse describes him further by saying that he was a shooter with the bow. In a similar sense is the verse, ‘And the shooters of arrows by the bow overtook him.”
Ramban on Genesis 21:20, Sefaria.org [14]

Let us examine his words closer. A Roveh is a shooter. The pattern of Ishmael and descendants who follow this template is that they:

  1. Shoot arrows – What are the ‘arrows’ of today?
  2. Throw stones – “Palestinian” stone throwing is so well known that there is a Wikipedia page dedicated to it: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_stone-throwing)
  3. Other objects –  “Palestinian” rocket attacks on Israel are so well known that there are multiple Wikipedia pages dedicated to covering them: * (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel)

There were 4,000 rocket attacks in May of 2021 alone. All of these came from Aza (Gaza). 

Jews and their ancestors have lived in Gaza since Biblical times, including R’ Yisrael Najara and the renowned mekubal R’ Avraham Azoulai (1570 – 1643 CE) [15]. A historic Jewish community existed in Gaza City prior to its expulsion for safety reasons by the British during the infamous 1929 riots by the city’s Arabs. Land for the village Kfar Darmon was purchased in the 1930s and settled in 1946, two years prior to the establishment of the State of Israel.  New communities were established in 1980’s and continued, despite being on the forefront of attacks from ‘Palestinian’ militants.

On August 13th, 2005, the Gush Katif region was closed to non-residents. On August 15, 2005 the disengagement from Gush Katif began. 8,600 Israelis were forced from their homes by their own government, who demolished the communities and even originally planned to destroy the synagogues. Ariel Sharon wanted to start one day earlier, on August 14th. The reason he didn’t: 

 

It was Tisha b’Av.

 

The forced removal began on the day after, on the 10th of Av, the historic day when the Temple was still burning. Gush Katif began in 1968, with the concept of having five key areas (called ‘Fingers’). The second ‘finger’ was called Netzarim, who were the last Israelis to be evicted on August 22, 2005. The word Netzarim means branches, and it is linked to the word Netzer (Branch), which is a title for the Messiah. Sadly, the Arabs eventually destroyed the synagogues. Abu Abir, a member of the Popular Resistance Committee, commented,

“The looting and burning of the synagogues was a great joy…It was in an unplanned expression of happiness that these synagogues were destroyed.”[16]

The United States under the Bush Administration pressured Israel to evacuate Gush Katif as part of a ‘land for peace’ arrangement. On August 23rd, 2005, the day after the last residents of Netzarim were forcibly evacuated from Gush Katif, Hurricane Katrina formed. With its 175mph winds, this Category 5 Atlantic hurricane caused over 1,800 deaths, $125 billion dollars worth of damage, and forced evacuations of tens of thousands of residents and trapped many more. The aftermath was apocalyptic. The order of the universe is that however the nations treat Israel, that is how they will be treated. This does not bode well for the current state of affairs in the world. Even today, many young evangelicals are turning their backs on Israel. Genesis 12:3 says,

Hurricane Katrina

“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Genesis 12:3, ESV

Gush Katif, once the home of faithful Jews, has become a military base used by ‘Palestinians’ to fire rockets at Israeli cities and train for attacks against the Jewish state [17]. The tragedy of Tisha b’Av continues as the Geulah (Redemption) continues to be delayed. 

Today, this is managed by what is called the Yesha Council [18]. Ariel Cohen Alloro links this to Isaiah 13:20 which says,

 

וְלֹא-יַהֵל שָׁם עֲרָבִי

“…neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there.”
Isaiah 13:20

The roshei teivot, the heads of the letters, spell Yeshua. By calling it the Yesha council (leaving out the ו vav), Alloro says that we have damaged the Torah. We will attempt to explain this difficult statement. 

The Torah is the Word of God through which the universe was created. It is the Blueprint, the Code, the DNA of the universe. Adam HaRishon was given the task of naming the animals. This wasn’t simply making up names, but discerning the letters by which they were created. Each name describes their atzmut, their essence, their character and design. It was an incredible feat that some apocryphal stories say that even the angels could not achieve. When we misname something, it fails to accurately represent the blueprint given to us from Above. Since the universe is in a constant state of renewal and stabilization from the Primordial Torah, if we go against this Blueprint, it creates damage in the universe. This isn’t merely spiritual, this affects the physical world. A contemporary example would be the radical redefinition of gender. Our culture has changed the language in order to circumvent the Torah. This has caused great damage to society in general and untold physical, emotional and spiritual suffering on an individual level. 

By leaving out the conjunctive vav (called vav ha’hippuch) which stands for the word ולא (v’lo), “and not”, the meaning of this verse is inverted. Israel has inadvertently ensured that “The Arab shall pitch his tent there.” 

He further points out that the gematria of the words Yehuda and Shomron equal 632, which is twice that of Yeshu. In other words, the average value of these two words combined equals Yeshu,

יהודה + שומרון = ישו ישו = 632
Yeshu Yeshu = Shomron + Yehuda = 632

The connections between Yeshua and the Land of Israel are numerous, and beyond the scope of this article. We have not even scratched the surface. 

Simply put, the Biblical heartland of Israel is named Yeshua. 

As the land vomited out its inhabitants when they were impure, so too Yeshua, as he says,

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
Revelation 3:15-16

When the Ayin of Yeshua’s name is restored, and Yeshu becomes Yeshua, then Aza (Gaza) will return to its rightful owners, reuniting the land. Like Yeshua’s name is incomplete, so is HaShem’s. It is taught that HaShem’s Name, the Tetragrammaton, is missing its last letter Hei, as the Bride (Israel) is separated from Her Husband. While it is beyond the scope of this article to explore, the reunification of Yeshua’s name will trigger the reunification of the Land of Israel, and reunite the last letter Hei (ה) of haShem’s name, as it is written, 

וְהָיָה ה׳ לְמֶלֶךְ, עַל כָּל הָאָרֶץ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, יִהְיֶה ה׳  אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד

“V’haya HaShem l’Melekh al kol ha’aretz,
bayom hahu yiyeh echad u’Shmo echad.”


“And it will be that HaShem will be King over all the earth.
In that day, HaShem will be one and his name one.”
Zechariah 14:9, ESV

Wars of Israel

 

“But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said,
“Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it.”
Numbers 13:30, ESV

The words of Caleb are still true today and given our current situation they remain exceptionally relevant. The rebirth of the nation of Israel is a miracle that has happened before our eyes. People born after 1948 may not recognize the unique significance of this event in world history. 

Three years after Victory Day of World War 2 (celebrated by Europeans on May 8th, 1945), the state of Israel became a nation on May 14th, 1948. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes  the Holocaust, the Nation of Israel resurrected in the land of their fathers. The first nation to recognize its legitimacy was the United States of America under the leadership of President Harry Truman. CBN writes,

The United States, under President Harry Truman, became the first country to recognize (the) nation. Israeli historian Michael Oren believes that Truman’s faith gave him the power to defy his advisors’ strong objections and support Israeli statehood. In his latest book, Power, Faith and Fantasy, Oren says Truman, who committed lengthy passages of scripture to memory, had a biblical perspective on the Jewish homeland. “He knew the map of Palestine better than he knew the map of his neighboring county in Missouri,” Oren told CBN News. “When he was a senator, he was a member of American Christian Committee for Palestine, an evangelical, pro-Zionist organization,“ he said.”
CBN News.com [19]

In  a world shaking speech,  David Ben Gurion stated on May 14th, 1948:

“Accordingly we, members of the People’s Council, representatives of the Jewish community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement, are here assembled on the day of the termination of the British Mandate over Eretz-Israel and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish State in  Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.”
David ben Gurion [20]

The Prophet Isaiah said,

“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children.”
Isaiah 66:8, ESV

The day after David ben Gurion’s declaration the Arab states of Egypt, Transjordan, Syria  and Iraq went to war with Israel. 

 

 

1948: Arab-Israeli War
Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon War of Independence

 

The details of the wars of Israel are beyond the scope of this article. Massively outnumbered, the nascent Jewish State found themselves in an impossible multifront war. And then the impossible happened. To the point that even today the Arabs today refer to this as the النكبة “Nakba”, the Catastrophe. Numerous stories of miracles are reported, such as,

“At Safed, near the Sea of Galilee, a small unit of Israeli defenders were holding off a thousand Arabs. A sudden tropical storm broke loose. The Israelis in desperation took their remaining gasoline, poured it over 50 empty drums, set them afire and rolled them down the hill. The flaming barrels flying down the slopes, the rumble of hollow barrels striking rocks, together with the tropical storm, created such an illusion that the bewildered Arabs imagining some sort of secret weapon took to their heel and fled.”
Israel, A Nation of Miracles [21]

Against all odds, Israel not only won the battle, but won decisively, setting the stage for a new era of Middle Eastern affairs whose repercussions are still felt today. Numerous battles continued to be fought, eventually culminating in what is called מִלְחֶמֶת שֵׁשֶׁת הַיָּמִים (Milchemet Sheshet Ha’Yamim), the Six-Day War.

 

 

1967: Six Day War
War on Three Fronts – Jordan, Syria and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria

Tensions in the Middle East reached a boiling point in June 1967. The challenges Israel faced at this time were formidable. Anti-Semitic Egyptian propaganda showed Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt, kicking a caricature of a Jew into the Mediterranean sea. The Egyptian military began to mobilize in preparation for an imminent attack on Israel. The odds were not in the Jewish people’s favor. 

 

264,000 Israeli Soldiers          525,000 Arab Soldiers
800 Israeli Tanks  2,424 Arab Tanks  
196 Israeli Aircraft 600 Arab Aircraft
France & USA Cut Off
Weapons To Israel
Billions in aid
from the USSR 
to Arab Nations

 

Israel was again gripped with fear. In the face of insurmountable odds, people spoke of a Second Holocaust. Public parks were being designated as graveyards. The humor of the Jewish people, ever intact, lead some to joke,

 

“Last Jew out, turn off the lights.”


June 5, 1967, 7:56am.
Jordanian radar detected the Israeli Air Force taking off. They sent a red-alert to Cairo. But used the WRONG CODE. [22] The incredibly fast and nimble Israeli Air Force obliterated the Egyptian Air Force while the planes were still parked on the runways. 

“The first Israeli wave attacked 11 bases, catching much of the Egyptian Air Force on the ground and destroying them before they got airborne. The Israeli jets then returned to Israel, were “quick-turned” (refueled and armed with new ammunition) in 7 minutes 45 seconds. . .” [23]

The amount of aircraft destroyed:

452 Arab         19 Israeli

Sara Yoheved Riger says,

“Israeli planes destroyed the entire Egyptian air force on the ground. In six days, Israel tripled its territory, gaining the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and – most precious of all – the Old City and the Temple Mount.”
[24]

The war lasted for Six Days. On the Seventh Day, Jerusalem was returned to the Jewish People. Psalm 27 says,

“Though an army should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war should rise against me, even then I will be confident.”
Psalms 27:3

HaShem performed a Biblical miracle in our own days! When Israel faced these trials, how did they react? When we face trials, how do we react? The same God who fights for the Nation of Israel fights for those who trust in Him. Arutz 7 asks,

“What was the single greatest miracle of the entire Six Day War? Not an easy question, for there were so many miracles, both hidden and revealed. There is no end to the stories that have been documented from the battles: of the Egyptian tank commander in the Sinai Desert who surrendered to a vastly inferior Israeli force on the second day of the war, because a desert mirage made him see hundreds of Israeli tanks where there were no more than a dozen . . .”
Arutz 7, The Six Day War, Recognizing the Miracle [25]

One German journalist is cited as saying,

“Nothing like this has happened in history.” [25]

HaAretz newspaper is cited as saying,

“Even a non-religious person must admit this war was fought with help from heaven.” [25]

After this incredible victory, Moshe Dayan, the Israeli military leader and politician, went to the Western Wall, as Sara Yoheved Rigler [26] recounts,

“Coming to the Western Wall the day after its liberation, Dayan, following the prevailing custom, wrote a message and stuffed it into a crevice between the ancient stones of the Wall. As soon as he left, of course, newspaper reporters extricated the note and read it. It contained a line from the Psalms:

 

From God this was.
It was marvelous in our eyes.

Tzitzit

Our parasha give us an antidote, a cure, to the problem of following our own eyes,

‘Speak to the children of Israel, and command them that they make them throughout their generations tzitzit in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue. And it shall be unto you for a tzitzit, that you may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of HaShem, and do them; and that ye go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go astray; that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy to your God.”
Numbers 15:38-40

The Midrash Rabbah says,

“The strings of the tzitzit are comparable to the case of one who has been thrown into the water, and the captain stretches out a rope and says to him: “Take hold of this rope with your hand and do not let go; for if you let go, you have not life!” In the same way, G-d said to Israel: “As long as you adhere to the commandments, then, “You who cleave unto the L-rd your G-d are alive every one of you this day” (Deuteronomy 4:4). In the same vein it says: “Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go; keep her, for she is your life” (Proverbs 4:13).”
Midrash Rabbah, cited in Chabad.org [27]

The key is that we see it. That we see through HaShem’s eyes. The Jerusalem Talmud observes,

“Said Rabbi Meir: it does not say, “and you shall see them,” but “and you shall see Him” (the Hebrew Otto, also translates as “him”). This teaches that every one who fulfills the mitzvah of tzitzit, it is as if he has greeted the face of the Divine Presence.”
Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 1:2, cited at Chabad.org [28]

Rebbe Nachman comments,

“The word TZitZit is related to lehatZitZ (to look). Tzitzit help a person see beyond the material world and nullify himself before God. They keep a person from straying after the pleasures of this world…”
Rebbe Nachman’s Torah, Volume 2, Breslov Research Institute, Pg. 80

Yeshua says,

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
John 7:24, ESV

David vs Goliath

This leads us to the tavnit, the pattern, template, blueprint the Torah provides for the Jewish People and the discovery of the Messiah. The Prophet Samuel came to anoint the new King of Israel in Bethlehem, as 1 Samuel states,

“Samuel did that which HaShem spoke, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably? He said, Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to HaShem. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” “He sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. It happened, when they had come, that he looked at Eliab, and said, “Surely HaShem’s Mashiach is before him.” But HaShem said to Samuel, 

‘Don’t look on his face, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for I see not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but HaShem looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:4-7

We must stop looking at our situation through our eyes, and start perceiving all events, from the personal to the global, through the vision of HaShem! Many individuals look as if they could be the Mashiach. But the true Mashiach will be the one whom Israel does not expect, as Isaiah 53 says,

“…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”
Isaiah 53:2, ESV

This verse in 1 Samuel reveals to us how to identify the true Messiah. It continues,

“…Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel.” Samuel said to Jesse, “HaShem has not chosen these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your children here?” He said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is keeping the sheep.”
1 Samuel 16:10-11

Jesse did not invite David, as he was rejected by his brothers and family (explored in our article Mashiach ben David). He was out among the sheep, as he is the true Shepherd. Incredibly, the name of Yeshua is equivalent to David ben Yishai, David the son of Jesse, in gematria,

 

386 = דוד בן ישי = ישוע
David ben Yishai = Yeshua = 386

 

Ezekiel speaks of the Mashiach ben David, who like the shepherds Yosef and David before him, will be the ultimate Shepherd,

“I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David. He shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. I, HaShem, will be their G-d, and my servant David prince among them. I, HaShem, have spoken it.”
Ezekiel 34:23-24

1 Samuel continues, containing a secret regarding Mashiach,

“Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent, and brought him in. Now he was admoni (ruddy), and with beautiful eyes, and goodly to look on.”
1 Samuel 16:12

Although David had the “beautiful eyes” of Leah, and the “good” looks of Yosef, David’s external characteristic of being admoni, ruddy, frightened Samuel, because this was linked to the external characteristics of Esav,

“The first came out admoni, red all over, like a hairy garment. They named him Esau.”
Genesis 25:25

Why does David, the Mashiach, have the externality of Esav? This is similar to Yaakov Avinu, who cloaked himself with goat skins, to conceal himself in Esav. The Midrash explains,

“RUDDY. R. Abba b. Kahana said: Altogether a shedder of blood. And when Samuel saw that David was ruddy, as it is written, And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy (I Sam. 16:12), he was smitten with fear, thinking he too might be a murderer. But the Holy One, blessed be He, reassured him that he was of beautiful eyes [which meant], Esau slew by his own impulse, whereas he [David] would slay only on the sentence of the court.”
Genesis Rabbah 63:8, Soncino Press Edition

This is a great secret, according to the principle, “The hands are the hands of Esav, but the voice is the “voice of Yaakov.” Nevertheless, Samuel looked past the exterior, and anointed HaShem’s Mashiach (1 Samuel 16:13). The concept is that the King Messiah will be concealed in the midst of the enemies of Israel, just like redeemers of the past (Yosef and Moshe in Egypt, Esther in Persia). Where will Mashiach be concealed? The Talmud tells us in Edom, that is, Christianity. Like Shmuel HaNavi, we must look beyond the nigleh, the revealed, the external, to the nistar, the concealment, to find the Tzaddik.

“HaShem said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers: and the Spirit of HaShem came mightily on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.”
1 Samuel 16:4-13

 

Facing the Giants

Shortly after this event, even though David was anointed King over Israel, he did not immediately begin to rule and reign. When he was sent by father to check on his brothers on the war front, they rejected him, similar to the rejection Yosef experienced when he was sent by his father to check on his brothers. The people of Israel were gripped with fear, as the most famous giant of all time, Goliat, standing up to 9’6” tall challenged not only the armies of Israel, but God Himself. 

David, a young man, who could not even wear the armor of King Saul, went out to an armored Goliat, armed with only a sling and five smooth stones. David spoke with emunah shleimah (complete faith in HaShem), 

“Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin: but I come to you in the name of HaShem of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today, HaShem will deliver you into my hand. I will strike you, and take your head from you. I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky, and to the wild animals of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that HaShem does not save with sword and spear: for the battle is HaShem’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
1 Samuel 17:45-47

What happened next echoes throughout history. Its ripples are felt even in the battles of Israel today:

“It happened, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. David put his hand in his bag, took a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine in his forehead; and the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.”
1 Samuel 17:48-49

David’s eyes did not deter him from the victory that HaShem had planned, for they were “beautiful”. 2nd Corinthians says,

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7

The time is now. It is time for us – Jew and Non-Jew – to rebuild the Temple, both physical and spiritual. To make Teshuvah (Repent). To lift up our heads as the Kingdom of Heaven is near. He is coming on the clouds. Every eye will see him. Even those who pierced him. His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. The Land of Israel will be reunited. HaShem’s name will be One. Our own eyes will behold this, as Isaiah says,

“And though the L-rd gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.”
Isaiah 30:20, ESV

On that day, our vision will become clear. Our perception will behold the glorious light of Truth. If we really want to perceive it, the Kingdom is already here. Messiah has already arrived. We only need to open our eyes to see. 

“Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror,
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part.
Then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

1 Corinthians 13:12


References

  1. Yevamot 49b
  2. Taanit 20a-b, The William Davidson Talmud, Sefaria.org
  3. Taanit 30b, William Davidson Talmud, Sefaria.org
  4. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, Shabbat of Vision, Chabad.org
  5. Gigantopithecus, Wikipedia.org, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantopithecus
  6. Herodotus,  https://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Herodotus/1B*.html
  7. Plutarch
  8. Pausanias
  9. Gigantism and Acromegaly, Ian M. Chapman, MBBS, PhD, Professor of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Royal Adelaide Hospital
  10. Shlach: Act As If, Adam Lieberman, Aish.com
  11. Chuck Swindoll
  12. Amy Eilberg, Jweekly.com, Shlach Lecha: Opening up to a wider, less fearful view
  13. Judea, Samaria and Gaza – Yeshua | “י]הודה, [ש]ומרון [וע]זה – “ישוע] – Part 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWxA5GKR1uo
  14. Ramban on Genesis 21:20, Sefaria.org
  15. Wikipedia, Gush Katif, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gush_Katif
  16. Synagogues now terror firing zone. Ynetnews. February 27, 2007.
  17. Wikipedia, Gush Katif, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gush_Katif
  18. http://www.myesha.org.il
  19. CBN News.com
  20. Declaration of Independence, https://main.knesset.gov.il/en/about/pages/declaration.aspx
  21. Israel, A Nation of Miracles
  22. 700 Club
  23. Wikipedia, Operation Focus
  24. http://www.sixdaywar.co.uk/hidden_miracles.htm
  25. Arutz 7, The Six Day War, Recognizing the Miracle
  26. Aish.com: Purim: Hidden Miracles, Sara Yoheved Rigler
  27. Midrash Rabbah, cited in Chabad.org
  28. Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 1:2, cited at Chabad.org
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