Ask your fellow Jew the following question and see if he/she answers it correctly: “Who were
the people lucky enough to leave Egypt and actually enter the Land of Israel 40 years later?” My
guess is that the overwhelming answer will be the following: “The only ones who left Egypt and
entered Israel were those who were under 20 years of age at the time of the Exodus, plus
Yehoshua and Caleb. This was due to the tragic Sin of the Spies and the subsequent punishment
by Hashem that anyone over 20 would die in the desert.”
I am willing to bet that if you ask this question to 100 people (who know the story), at least 95 of
them will give you this answer. After all, the Torah itself seems to say this very clearly. When
pronouncing the punishment, Hashem Himself said the following; “Because you complained
about Me, your corpses will fall in this desert. This will happen to your complete tally, everyone
over 20 years old who was counted… will not come into the land regarding which I swore… the
only exceptions with be Caleb and Yehoshua” (Ba’Midbar 14:29-30 – translation by Rabbi Aryeh
While this may seem like the right answer… it is not. There were actually lots of people over 20
at the time of the Exodus who left Egypt yet merited to enter Eretz Yisrael. They were called…
the Jewish women! Rashi is very clear about this; “Upon the women, the decree of the Spies
was not decreed, for they held the land precious. The men said, ‘Let us appoint a leader and let
us return to Egypt’, but the women said, ‘Give us a possession’!” (Ba’Midbar 26:64 – Rashi’s
commentary – translation by ArtScroll)
We seem to be very familiar with the famous line in the Talmud which states how “in the merit
of the righteous women… Israel was redeemed from Egypt” (Sotah 11b) but how many of us
know the Rashi I just quoted? Sadly, just a handful. So let me repeat it in my own words: The
men (above 20) died in the desert but the women did not because they loved the Land of Israel!
When the Spies returned and gave their evil report about Israel, the women refused to accept it.
It was the men who kvetched and wanted to return to America, I mean Egypt, but the women
said “No way!” Therefore, when the punishment was announced, the women were not included
and they merited to enter the Holy Land with all its glory and splendor.
That was exactly 3,329 years ago and we need to know that what happened then, can and must
happen now! Therefore, I am addressing the rest of this article to the Jewish women. If any men
are reading this, I have just one thing to say: Please pass the article immediately to your wife,
mother, daughter, sister and every female cousin!
Dearest sister; as you know, the Torah is not a book of stories. It is our guidebook, our compass
and our instructions for living. If the Torah tells us that Jewish women were strong in their love
for the Land of Israel then you need to muster that strength today as well. Most guys I know
have their head spinning in different directions and moving to Israel is usually not on their radar.
Therefore, it’s you who Am Yisrael needs. We need you to be the backbone and driving force
behind the dream of raising your family in the Promised Land. There will be lots of negativity
with people telling you it can’t be done. Your husband may ask, “How will I make a living?” Your
kids may complain about losing their friends and people will hit you with complaints about
Israeli schools and health care. The only way to overcome this is to tap into the great women
you come from… the ones from 3,329 years ago who heard the same complaints – and far worse
– yet refused to believe a word of it!
Think about it. 10 of the 12 spies return from a 40 day mission and give their report. These were
very respected men… leaders of the generation! Let’s be honest for a minute. What they said
was very frightening! “The people living in the land are aggressive and the cities are large and
well fortified… Amalek lives in the Negev, the Hittities, Yebusites and Amorites live in the hills
and the Canaanites live near the sea… The land consumes its inhabitants. All the men we saw
there were huge… sons of the giant… we felt like tiny grasshoppers” (Ba’Midbar 13:28-33 –
translation by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan z”l)
It is easy for me to say that I would not have listened to them but reality might have been
different. The men heard this and became scared but the women – who heard the exact same
words – refused to back down. Their response? “Give us a possession” says Rashi! They might
have been afraid but they trusted in Hashem completely. They knew that Hashem didn’t take
the Jewish Nation out of Egypt just to have some Hittites wipe them off the face of the earth a
few months later. They understood the challenge and danger but had complete faith that the
King of Kings would guide them to victory, success and help them set up a beautiful life for their
I won’t waste any words. Simply put, we need that faith, optimism and positive energy today. If
the Jewish women did it once, they can do it again. Don’t wait for your husband to call Nefesh
b’Nefesh… you do it! Don’t let the negative words of the modern day spies infect your pure soul.
Assure your husband that he will find a job, talk to your kids about the wonderful new friends
they will have and tell all your neighbors about how your family will thrive in Israeli schools and
with the medical system.
My sister; You are the rock and Am Yisrael needs you as much as ever! Many years ago you
didn’t believe the negativity so don’t believe it today. Israel is strong, beautiful, spiritually alive
and moving closer to Hashem every single day. Our kids are thriving, our economy is growing
and the quality of life cannot be beat. This is the place to raise your family and to connect to
Jewish history. Tap into the energy of your 3,329 old grandmother and make that spirit come
alive today. We can’t do it without you.