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Friday, Sivan 24, 5781 / June 4, 2021


This week's Parsha Shlachbegins with the story of Moshe sending twelve spies to scout the land of Canaan (Israel).  They returned after forty daysand, with the exception of two (Joshua and Calev), ten of them reported that it would be impossible to conquer the land due to the strength of the people and the giants living there. 


Their lack of faith and trust in G-d, Who promised to give them the Land, influenced the people and they too refused to enter into the Promised Land. As a result, G-d decreed that everyone over the age of twenty at that time will not go into the Promised Land.  Instead, they will stay in the desert for another 40 years, where everyone over twenty at this time will die in the desert. Only those younger than 20 years now, will enter into Israel.


The lesson of this story is the importance of having complete and unwavering trust in G-d. True faith in G-d is the key which open the heavenly gates through which G-d's blessings flow to us in abundance.


Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement, wanted to teach his students what truefaith in G-d is.  They traveled to a certain village and stopped at an inn, run by a simple G-d fearing and pious Jew.


The innkeeper welcomed them very warmly and invited them to a meal.  During the meal a soldier came in and knocked on the table three times and left.  Later the soldier came back and repeated the banging on the table. 


The Baal Shem Tov asked the innkeeper, “What is the meaning of this?” The innkeeper explained, "This year was a difficult one financially.  As a result, I am in arrears of my rent to the Baron, who owns this village. Today I must pay the rent.  The Baron sent the soldier to remind me to make the payment today.  When the soldier comes the third time I must go to the Baron and pay what I owe. Otherwise, he will throw me in jail."


"From the way you conduct yourself, I assume that you have the money to pay the Baron!" said the Baal Shem Tov.   "The opposite is true," replied the innkeeper.  "I have no money at all.  However, I have complete faith that G-d will help me."  Shortly afterwards, the soldier came a third time. "Now I must go to the Baron and pay my debt.  I will be back, G-d willing, shortly."  The innkeeper excused himself and went calmly with the soldier.


The Baal Shem Tov and the disciples watched through the window to see what would happen.  In the distance, they noticed a coach drive up to the innkeeper.  A stranger had a conversation with him.  Then the wagon drove away.  A little while later, the wagon turned around and again approached the innkeeper. This time, they noticed that the man from the wagon handed a parcel to the innkeeper who continued on his way.


When the innkeeper returned, they asked him what happened. He told them that on the way to the Baron, someone approached him wanting to buy a large quantity of vodka.  "I quoted him a price and asked for a deposit, the amount I owed the Baron.  But the man thought the price was too much, so we parted.  After a while, he returned and told me that he changed his mind and agreed on the price.  He then gave me the down payment which was exactly what I needed to give the Baron!"


The Baal Shem Tov said to his students, "This is the power of true faith in G-d.  As we say every day in prayer, ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in G-d and G-d will be his security.’"




Montreal candle lighting time: 8:20 / Shabbat ends: 9:36