Drash Cards for Shlach-Lecha (5765)
by Marc Mangel
• Remember Fiddler on the Roof in which Tevye often says “On the one hand…on the other hand”
• Duality is the great strength of Judaism. We move between being angels and animals; we have blood lust but our best stage is vegetarian
• That relates to God’s omniscience, and free will.
• We have problematics texts: Ch 13, v 1; Ch 14, v 11, v 27: If God omniscient, why send out the spies? Why ask Moses questions?
• The Chazal note that the Torah says “Send out spies for yourself”. God knows what will happen, is not commanding it, and does not choose the spies.
• Nachsoni writes “Thus, HaShem issued his command only to allow free will to operation. His decision to let the Israelites be deceived constituted prior knowledge of their fate, but that did not nullify their ability to choose” and that “No HaShem, but they themselves were responsible for their sin”
• I note that it need not have happened that way.
• God asks questions a lot. Of Adam and Eve: why hide? Of Cain: where’s Abel. Of Abraham: Why is Sarah laughing.
• Rashi says that God’s questions leave open praye and teshuvah, as in today’s parsha
• Rav Joseph Ozarowski writes “God wants to give us opportunity to engage in dialogue because teshuvah is preferable to punishment. And even when things seems so bad that there is no hope prayer is still worthwhile and effective”
• That is, God is omniscient AND can be surprised by our teshuvah. Live with it; it’s Judaism.