Knowing that G-d forgives doesn’t give you the right not to listen
Great lessons for today are to be leaned from the inspirational stories of the bible.
Against the backdrop of the greatest Exodus in history, the Jews of 3333 years ago spend 40 years in the desert, going from place to place and essentially waiting for a Generation to die.
If you think I lockdown was bad, imagine it extending for 40 years!
One of the most famous inspirational stories is the story of the spies that went into the land of Israel, as advance men. The spies were either sent by G-d or by Moses depending on which version of the bible story you understand. It is not clear at all from the narrative. Arguments are made both ways and it is purposely left unclear as to whether they were on a mission from G-d (forgive me Blues Brothers movie) or Moses making an executive decision.
Whichever version of the story you believe, the Torah (bible) is very clear that the spies failed their mission. The ten spies that spoke against the land of Israel all died in a plague. All of the spies, except Joshua and Caleb, were struck down with a plague and died.
Obviously they didn’t get a good result, but what lessons are we to learn today from the incident, which is why the Bible is a direct “ways” from G-d to teach us lessons for our time.
Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, is the founder of the Tanach Study Center www.tanach.org, is an internationally acclaimed Bible scholar and pioneer of Jewish Education on the internet. Rabbi Leibtag states that the people were not ready to do the Mitzvahs in the land of Israel. According to the Rabbi, it’s not enough for Jewish people just to live in the land, they have to accept G-d’s instructions regarding the Mitzvahs fully in their heart.
The people including the spies didn’t have that in their heart. Knowing that G-d forgives doesn’t give you the right not to listen to the commandments. This is the lesson we are still learning today. Although G-d is a forgiving and loving G-d, he also has a set of instructions that we don’t follow at our own risk.
Speaking of following the instructions here is a quick story, though not biblical.
The Wailing What?
Maureen and Patrick O’Connor are visiting Jerusalem for the first time and are pretty darn excited. On their first day, they get into a taxi and say to the driver, “Our friends told us of a very interesting site in Israel that we must visit. We can’t remember the name, but could you please take us to the place where the Jews do their crying.”
So the taxi driver promptly took them to the Income Tax Authority building