Many Orthodox rabbis teach during this present period of mourning the destruction of the Holy Temples, Israelis must rectify the Sin of the Spies in the Torah, “the root of all calamities,” they say.  This week’s Torah portion, D’varim (Deuteronomy), repeats the story of the 12 spies sent by Moses. Of the 12, only two (Joshua and Caleb) returned with a good report. The following article by Rabbi Melamed  is abridged from the ‘Besheva’ newspaper. We present the rabbi’s comments from the lengthy article that refer to the present war in Gaza:

The War in Gaza. . . . And so, we arrived at this complicated war in the Gaza Strip.

Had we been worthy – we would have engaged in the mitzvah [commandment] of yishuv ha’aretz, building and expanding Gush Katif. We would not have sinned in the Oslo Accords, and not have granted the Arabs any collective rights in the Land of Israel. Indeed, we would have to deal with international pressure and threats from the Arab enemy, but handling such pressure would have been relatively easy. It could even have been a constructive and reinforcing struggle.

But since we were not worthy, we sinned in the Oslo Accords and the destruction of Gush Katif, we entered a complicated war in Gaza in order to save Jewish lives from the fires of Muslim terror, and our precious soldiers are forced to sacrifice their lives in the defense of the people and the country.

The Only Way to Win is Settling the Land

If the government continues to ignore the vision of yishuv ha’aretz, we cannot win the war. For the Arabs know that the key issue concerns the sovereignty over the land, and as long as they remain steadfast and their claims receive international attention – they win. Even if we kill thousands of their soldiers and citizens and destroy thousands of their houses, specifically on account of that, they will receive more funding to build their military strength.

And thus, we will have to go from one military operation to the next, to bend, twist, and confront international pressures – because the Arabs will always have demands, and there will always be more terrorists to violate the peace.

The only way to win is by returning to the mitzvoth of yishuv ha’aretz. If as a result of the war in Gaza the government comes to the realization that further talk about withdrawal from Judea and Samaria is forbidden and must expand the Jewish settlements, this war can then be depicted as somewhat of a victory.

If the enemy knew that as a result of the war the government would decide to build tens of thousands of homes in the settlements of Judea and Samaria, they would realize they have lost.

If they heard that the Israeli government intends to occupy Gaza, to rebuild the destroyed communities, to encourage the emigration of refugees and enemies of Israel, their dream of victory over Israel would fade, international pressure would gradually diminish, and the swamp of terror would eventually dry up.

The Role of Individuals
During the period of mourning over the destruction of the Temple, each individual should make an effort to rectify the Sin of the Spies by building the Land. Anyone who can join the settlements in Judea and Samaria is called to do so. Those who cannot move there for family reasons, or because they fill other important functions in education or in the community, are called upon to encourage those who can, to rise up and join the settlements.

Of course, those standing guard over the communities on the Golan Heights and the Negev, the Galilee and the Arava, should remain where they are. This call is directed to the residents of central Israel, who, without losing their jobs, can fulfill the great mitzvah of saving our nation from the existential danger of the establishment of a terrorist state in Judea and Samaria.

Because settling the Land is the solution, and in the building of Eretz Yisrael we will find comfort.
Jerusalem Channel Intercessors, pray Amos 9:

Israel’s Restoration

11 “In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter—

I will repair its broken walls
and restore its ruins—
and will rebuild it as it used to be,
12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the nations that bear my name,”
declares the Lord, who will do these things.

13 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,

“when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman
and the planter by the one treading grapes.
New wine will drip from the mountains
and flow from all the hills,
14     and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.

“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God.