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Friday, Sivan 25, 5778 / June 8, 2018


This Shabbat we read Parshat Shelach, which tells the story of the twelve spies. Upon the request of the Jewish people, Moshe sent 12 spies to scout the land of Canaan, which G-d promised the people. As a result of the negative report of ten of the spies, the people refused to go to the Land. As a result of this sin, G-d decreed that all males over the age of 20 will die in the desert over the next 38 years.


Later in the Parsha the Torah tells what sacrifices to bring as atonement when the congregation or an individual commits the sin of idol worship accidentally.


In addition to the sin of the spies, we find in the Parsha another story of an individual who committed the sin of desecrating the Shabbat.


Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Barditchev once said to a Jew, who was non-observant, “I truly envy you.”


The Jew was shocked. “Rabbi, you know that I am a sinner. I don’t keep Shabbat, nor do I observe the holidays; I eat non-kosher foods, etc. Why would you envy me?”


Rabbi Levi Yitzchak answered, “Our sages tell us that when a person does Teshuva (repents) sincerely, out of love for G-d, all their sins are converted to mitzvot! When you will repent for all the many sins you committed during your lifetime, you will have more mitzvoth than I. For that I envy you!”


The Parsha concludes with the mitzvah of Tzitzit, which we have on our Tallit in order to remember to observe all of G-d’s mitzvot.


On the lighter side:Before the High Holidays, Mr. Goldberg took his Tallit to the same dry cleaners as he did for the past twenty years.  Not knowing that the cleaners had recently changed hands, he was a bit surprised when he was  greeted by the new owner - a recently arrived Chinese immigrant who bought the cleaners from its Jewish owner.


Noticing that the customer was a bit hesitant to leave the garment, the new owner tried his best to assure Mr. Goldberg. "I promise to do as good a job as the previous owner."


Two days later he came to pick up the Tallit and was shocked to see the bill for $25.


"Why so expensive?" gasped Mr. Goldberg.  "I gave this Tallit to clean for many years and I was charged only $5?"


"How can you compare his work to mine," replied the new owner.  "Did he spend three hours as I did, untying every knot in the garment?"



Montreal candle lighting time: 8:23 / Shabbat ends: 9:40