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Thursday, June 30, 2016


The Jewish people could be pardoned for spying on the land of Israel. It was a regular military tactic and an example of good planning. Their problem was the way that they looked at the land. They forgot about Hashem’s promise and they forgot that the conquest was not completely in their hands. When Yehoshua and Kaleiv tried to remind them, they were stoned. Nobody wanted to look at things differently or to see things from another angle.

It is interesting that both Yehoshua and Kaleiv stayed strong in their opposition to the Meraglim but they stayed strong in different ways.

Yehoshua recieved a blessing from Moshe and a ‘yud’ added to his name. Kaleiv visited Chevron and prayed at the graves of our ancestors.

The Chofetz Chaim explains that there are two different approaches that a person can take when going against the flow. Some people argue and debate and make a lot of noise voicing their opposition. This is good because it keeps them strong, but bad because they and others can get hurt. Other people stay quiet and try to keep themselves strong. This is a lot safer, but it is very risky. Attitudes of those around us eventually rub off on us and penetrate deep into our souls.

Yehoshua belonged to the first group. From the beginning, he denounced the spies and their attitudes. He stayed strong, but Moshe was concerned for his physical well-being. He gave him a blessing that he would be saved from harm at the hands of the spies. According to the Chasam Sofer, the ‘yud’ itself connotes the self confidence and assertiveness that Yehoshua had in opposing the spies. The Aruch write that they knew that this was the result of a blessing and mocked him for it, calling him “Reish Ketiah”. Still, he held his ground and the spies were unable to affect him spiritually or physically.

Kaleiv took a different approach. He went along with the spies and did not say a word. When he finally got up to defend Moshe people stopped to listen. They thought that he was on their side.

Kaleiv realized early in the trip that he would need special help from G-d to stay strong. He went to Chevron and prayed to recharge and rejuvenate his soul. This worked as well.

The Chafetz Chaim writes that both approaches are legitimate. Some of us make a lot of noise and some of us are more subtle, but both Yehoshua and Kaleiv could not have done what they did without the blessing from Moshe and the prayers in Chevron. We can’t do anything without G-d.

The spies forgot that they had G-d and they died in the desert. Yehoshua and Kaleiv relied on G-d and they merited to usher the Jewish people into the land.

Posted on 06/30 at 10:01 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Sender Haber

Rabbi Sender Haber is the Rabbi of the B'nai Israel Congregation in Norfolk, VA. He is well known throughout Hampton Roads, having arrived over twelve years ago as one of the original four members of the Norfolk Area Community Kollel. In that capacity, Rabbi Haber was involved in community wide programming, teaching, and outreach. He has inspired many Jews to expand their Jewish identity and increase their love of Torah and commitment to its observance. Everyone who knows Rabbi Haber is touched by his breadth of Torah knowledge and his ability to convey the wisdom of the ages in such a way as to make those esoteric writings accessible to persons of all levels of experience and a variety of backgrounds.

Rabbi Haber has served in a number of capacities during his years in Norfolk. Since 2003 Rabbi Haber has been a teacher of Jewish Studies at Toras Chaim Day School in Portsmouth, teaching boys and girls of all ages, with a focus on Gemara, Halacha, and Chumash. He has also taught at Yeshivas Aish Kodesh and Bina High School in Norfolk, and served as Assistant Rabbi of B’nai Israel for 6 years. He also serves as the Rabbi of the “Lost Tribe,” Tidewater’s Jewish Motorcycle group! While handling all of these responsibilities, he has continued to participate in numerous Chavrusos (one-on-one learning partnerships) covering a wide range of topics and writings.

Rabbi Haber and his wife Chamie have been married for thirteen years. They have four children, Minna (9), Moshe (6), Ely (4), and Akiva Meir, born in August of 2012. They both come from rabbinic families steeped in Torah, Kiruv and Chesed. Rabbi Haber received his Rabbinic Ordination (Yoreh Yoreh) from Rabbi Sender Rosenbloom and Rabbi Mordechai Freidlander of the Jerusalem Beth Din. He was awarded a Teaching Certificate by Torah Umesorah Association for Jewish Day Schools in 2004 and again in 2009. In addition, Rabbi Haber has spent over a decade studying Talmud, Jewish Law, and ethics in some of the world’s most prestigious Yeshivos including Beth Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood, NJ and Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted through the Synagogue office at 757-627-7358, or through e-mail at