Now that we have passed the summer solstice, the days are still long but they are starting to get shorter, as we move ever closer to the end of the year and the coming New Year and Days of Awe. The Hebrew letters of the present month, Tammuz, are the initial letters of the phrase Z-MAN T-ESHUVAH M-MASHMESH U-VA, “the Time of Teshuvah is getting closer”. The letters of next month, AV, are the initial letters of ELUL BA – “Elul (month of repentance) is on the way”. After the month of Av comes Elul.
With the arrival of the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, we are now mid TAMMUZ, “the season of the month of Tammuz”, the hottest time of the year. For long hours every day, Eretz Yisrael is bathed in dazzlingly bright light. It is appropriate that kabbalistically, this season is associated with the human faculty of vision. (The tribe associated with the month of Tammuz, which begins in little more than a week’s time, is Reuven — REU-BEN: “SEE! A son!”)
The theme of purifying and refining our principle faculties regarding how we “view” the Holy land of Israel was introduced at the beginning of the parsha BEHAALOSCHA, which taught about the purity of vision in general.This parsha initiates a series of parshiyot all of which prominently feature the faculty of vision.
This certainly applies to SHELACH LECHAH, with its theme of “spying out the Land”. SHELACH LECHA taught about viewing the world — and our own selves — with the eyes of faith despite outward appearances. It also applies to the following parshiyot: In KORACH we find that Korach rebelled because he was deceived by his own VISION, while all the children of Israel SAW that the Staff of Aaron sprouted. KORACH taught about how we look at others who may be better than ourselves. In CHUKAS we learn that when sprinkling the blood of the Red Heiffer, the priest had to LOOK towards the entrance of the Sanctuary, this this is time of Teshuvah, that teach us how to look at various different aspects of life in the correct perspective. Recall how the bitten Israelites had to GAZE at the bronze serpent. CHUKAS comes to teach us how to look at our mortality, death, the end goal of life, in the right perspective — for with the right perspective, we can transcend death.”And Balak SAW.” (Numbers 22:2). “And Bilaam SAW.” (24:1). “And Pinchas SAW.” (25:7) “And HaShem said to Moses, Go up. and SEE the land that I have given to the Children of Israel” (27:12)
The Pele Yoaytz observes that all these parshiyot teach us the ability to “look and see” between tuma (impurity) and kedusha (holiness)and also how to differentiate between good and evil. Are you able to “see ” what is happening in the world right now? Can you “perceive” that Hashem is running the world and trying to wake the diaspora Jews up? Can you “see” that you as a Jewish person can only actualize yourself to your fullest potential as a Jew in the holy land of Israel? Have you been able to purify your vision of Eretz Yisroel ? Do you realize that Chul is tuma and Eretz Yisroel is kedusha?
Today, years after we were promised a new order of peace, the world has been plunged before our eyes into an era of global war. Every day we are bombarded with gruesome and horrific anti-Israel images! It has long ceased to be surprising to hear of new daily outrages in locations far and near. We are hardly aware of how dulled our sensitivities have become.
Are we not living in times where these Torah messages are relevant?
Choose to SEE THIS land as yours!
Adapted from the Torah commentaries of Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum , Azamra.org