The Meraglim who spoke Lashon Harah about Eretz Yisrael caused a yearly Tisha B’av of mourning for Klal Yisrael throughout their history. One might erroneously think that nearly two thousand years has passed, and the previous generations who were on a much loftier level of spirituality did not merit to bring the geulah, so how can our generation aspire to achieve tikkun with our compromised mitzvos and maasim tovim?
The Tiferes Shlomo from Radamsk writes that Chazal tell us that Rav Tzadok fasted forty years on behalf of Am Yisrael to save them from the Churban Beis Hamikdash. It obviously appears that his endeavor failed. But this is the opposite of the truth. What Rav Tzadok did accomplish was to push off the Churban for forty years allotting more time for Yisrael to do teshuva and return to Hashem.
Chazal say that the middah of good and reward is hundreds of times greater than the middah of punishment. If Rav Tzadok who was one person alone, could delay the Churban for forty years, then surely when it comes to rebuilding the Beis Hamikdash, every single person’s input will be a partner in its reality.
The Mesilas Yesharim writes that everyone must feel that he can hasten the coming of the geulah by his davening and yearning for it. As Rav Naftali from Ropshitz explains the tefillah ובנה אותה בקרוב בימינו בנין עולם that we daven for rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash בימינו with our days (not in our days). The mitzvos that a Yid fulfills in his every day routine are the bricks that are being laid in the future Beis Hamikdash. True, in the past generations their bricks were much bigger than the tiny stones the later generations donate towards its construction. However, in the time of עקבתא דמשיחא in which we are living today, all the Beis Hamikdash needs is for the last layer to be built, and therefore even our little stones also contribute to the completion of that last layer.
At the end of the parsha the Torah writes the commandment of tzitzis. The gemarah in Menachos says that the turquoise string that is placed amongst the white ones reminds one of the ocean’s color since the colors are a close match to each other. The color of the ocean reminds one of the color of heaven, since these two colors are also close to each other when placed side by side. The color of the heavens, are close to the color of the Kisay Hakavod. What Chazal are conveying here is that one must realize that to reach the Kisay Hakavod it’s not a straight path without hurdles and detours. There are no instant winners. Every attempt to rise above the physical and earthly gravitational pulls is counted as success even though it is not entirely on the mark and a bulls eye.
Hashem doesn’t expect from us the levels of the previous generations. As it says Shabbos 112b
אמר רבי זירא אמר רבא בר זימונא אם ראשונים בני מלאכים אנו בני אנשים ואם ראשונים בני אנשים אנו כחמורים ולא כחמורו של רבי חנינא בן דוסא ושל רבי פנחס בן יאיר אלא כשאר חמורים
All Hashem expects from us is to invest our efforts towards the same mission and destiny as the generations before us, even though we will definitely fall short of them, who also fell short from their previous generations, etc. Every effort brings the geulah and Kiddush Sheim Shamayim closer to climax in the revelation of Kisay Hakavod whereupon the glory of Hashem’s Kingdom will be revealed unto the world.
The Meraglim opined that in the desert with Hashem’s Clouds of Glory surrounding them constantly, Yisrael were able to achieve superior spiritual heights. However, when they come to Eretz Yisrael they will lose this siyatah dishmaya and their spiritual inspiration, and their practice of mitzvos will not be the same. They therefore reasoned to encourage Am Yisrael to remain in the desert in their nest with Hashem, for Eretz Yisrael will be too challenging for them.
Rashi brings that the juxtaposition of Miriam being smitten with tzaraas next to the Meraglim comes to teach that they didn’t learn the severity of Lashon Harah from Miriam’s punishment. We can also suggest that the connection between the two is as follows. Amram had three children Moshe Ahron and Miriam. The two males were the leaders in Klal Yisrael just like their father. What comparable greatness could one expect from their sibling who was a female. Yet Chazal tell us that would it not have been for Miriam’s advice to her father to remarry Yocheved after they got divorced, Moshe Rabbeinu wouldn’t have been born, and Klal Yisrael would have become extinct. Now we find her speaking against the very person who she brought into the world by telling her father that the son they will give birth to will be very special above everyone else. Her Lashon Harah stated just the opposite for her complaint against Moshe was that he separated from his wife as if he was extra special and above everyone else.
The Meraglim should have learned a message from Miriam, not only about the severity of Lashon Harah but also about the significance of the achievement of a female whose merit literally preserved Am Yisrael’s destiny. Miriam taught Am Yisrael that it doesn’t matter which generation you are in, which geographic area you reside, how much spiritual talents you were born and raised with, or which level neshama you possess. Her message is loud and clear: try your hardest, the best you can be, and you will make the necessary difference in Am Yisrael. The Meraglim should have learned, that whether Am Yisrael is in the desert or in Eretz Yisrael, whether accompanied by the revelation of the Shechinah or not, even if the new dynamics and conditions afford you a compromised avodah, it will still bring a nachas ruach to Hashem, and maybe an even greater one than the generations that preceded you as long as you try your hardest.
Rav Tzadok Hakohen from Lublin compares Am Yisrael’s history to a midget on the shoulders of a giant. We in תשפ”א are riding on top of all the previous generations, all their zechusim, mitzvos, Torah learned, hardships, and sacrifices for Kiddush Hashem that Am Yisrael underwent for Hashem’s sake. It is this historic giant who enables us to live a Torah life amidst such a decadent, licentious, perverted, Sodomic, atmosphere and environment. Without which, we would have already vanished from this world.
The Slonimer Rebbi ztl “Nesivos Shalom” wrote that the sefarim tell us that one who dies by Kiddush Hashem, his place in Gan Eden is so high and holy that even tzadikim cannot stand there. The Six Million Yidden who all died because they were Jews, created the most incredible and unimaginable zechus for our generation. True, we are Lilliputians and midgets who have only tiny stones in our possession. Yet Dovid Hamelech, as a midget compared to Galiyas the giant of the Pelishtim, knocked him out and killed him with merely a stone from a sling shot.
The last layer of the Beis Hamikdash is so high, it needs the input of a giant, the compounded merits of previous generations, in order to reach it. But Hashem wants to demonstrate that even our generation which will אי”ה merit to greet the Moshiach, can also be elevated to the point of also becoming a real partner in his coming. The choice is in our hands. But that is only if you truly believe in the power that Hashem invested in you and your tiny stones.