June 12, 2014
14 Sivan 5774
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Shabbat Shelach L'cha

Unable to see beyond their own fears and insecurities, 10 of the 12 spies despaired of conquering Canaan.


As the Israelites approach the Land of Israel, spies are sent ahead to scout out the Land.

They return with a discouraging report, and the people believe that it will be too difficult to possess the Promised Land. They long to return to Egypt; God wants to destroy the faithless people, but Moshe persuades God to relent. Instead, God lengthens their wanderings to 40 years, so that none of the generation of the Exodus will enter the Land. The parasha ends with various laws of sacrifice which will take effect when they are settled in the Land; the final paragraph contains the commandment to attach fringes [tzitzit] to the corners of their clothing.

In Focus

"And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, 'The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them'" (Numbers 13:32-33).


The story of the spies is one of the dramatic highlights of the book of Numbers; it contrasts the fearful majority of the reconnaissance team, with Calev and Yehoshua [Joshua], who urge the people not to be afraid--these heroes of faith believe that God will protect the people and bring them into the land. In the verses quoted above, the fearful spies are telling the people that the land of Israel is filled with giants, or semi-divine beings, who will surely defeat the Israelites if they attempt to settle there.


One of the greatest teachers of Torah of our age, Nehama Leibowitz, z'l (may her memory be a blessing), in one of her essays on this parasha, asks an important question: how did the spies know what the "giants" thought of them? They don't report any interaction with these bizarre "Nephilim;" if they really were giant beings, then one could understand the feeling that "we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes," but how did they know if the "giants" even noticed them?

Unfortunately, although Nehama Leibowitz posed this great question, she didn't give any hint as to an answer. Not only that, but it seems that this question has been around for a very long time. The contemporary Bible scholar Jacob Milgrom, in the Jewish Publication Society commentary, quotes a midrash from the ancient rabbis, in which God rebukes the spies:

"I take no objection to your saying: 'we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves,' but I take offense when you say 'so we must have looked to them.' How do you know how I made you to look to them? Perhaps you appeared to them as angels!" (based on Numbers Rabbah 16:11).

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for additional insights on this week's parsha and others, visit The JTS Torah Commentary archive: 

May Their Memories Be For a Blessing 


6/12/2014 (14 Sivan)           

Irene Belsky

Victoria Esther Seigerman

6/14/2014 (16 Sivan)           

Harriet (Sivia) Band

6/15/2014 (17 Sivan)          

Elke Reiter

6/17/2014 (19 Sivan)           

Sidney Silverman

Ethel Toby

6/18/2014 (20 Sivan)           

Alex Harris

6/24/2014 (26 Sivan)           

Evelyn Wolock Eisman

Deborah Phyllis Vernick

6/26/2014 (28 Sivan)          

Irving Koren

6/28/2014 (30 Sivan)         

Milton Schloss

6/30/2014 (2 Tammuz)        

Rose Arbit Magy

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Shabbat Sh'lach Lecha
Friday, June 13th
Bloomer Park, West Bloomfield
Saturday, June 14th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
Aviva Elisheva Lupovitch will become a bat mitzvah.  Aviva is the daughter of Alissa Citron and Jeffrey Lupovitch and sister of Miriam, Naomi and Ezra. Aviva is the granddaughter of Jan and Henry Citron and Rochelle and Aaron Lupovitch.  Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Alissa Citron and Jeffrey Lupovitch in honor Aviva becoming a bat mitzvah.
Todah Rabbah to additional Youth Shabbat Lunch co-sponsors Paula Levy and Yizhak Elrom.*
Click here to help with Kiddush Lunch
*Kiddush Lunch is available through donations to the Kiddush Lunch Fund, the generosity of weekly sponsors, and volunteer efforts of our congregants and regular attendees.  Please
e-mail or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch.To sponsor as part of a "group," please e-mail Joanna Abramson or Mindy Shuback. You may also make a donation to the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.To sign up to help prepare Kiddush Lunch please use the "volunteer spot" button above.
SNL:  Saturday Night Learning.  
Saturday, June 14th 
, 8:15 p.m. at the home of Barbara and Irvin Kappy.  Text learning, light refreshments and havdalah.  Host homes will rotate weekly.  Please 
e-mail Mitch Parker if you plan to attend.
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Questions?  E-mail Peter Fenyes.  
Community Opportunities

Macabbi 2014.  Registration is open for Artists/Athletes, Coaches, Host Families, Volunteers and Sponsors.  JCC Maccabi Hotline:  248-432-5500, www.jccdet.org
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
Shabbat Youth Activities will resume in the fall.

MInute to win it
Friday, June 20th at Kalahari
$45.00 includes park entrance, transportation and snacks.  Transportation to and from the event from the JCC WB.  RSVP by June 18th


RAMAH CANADA LOGOFall Events for Camp Ramah
September 7th
Camp Heremelin, 12:30 p.m. at the home of Doreen Hermelin
September 14th
Welcome Back from Camp Ramah
5-7 p.m., Adat Shalom Synagogue 
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
Learning Opportunities
Adult Education
"Making Sense of the Machzor"
A 3-Part Series as part of SNL, Saturday Night Learning
Shabbat, September 6, 13, 20 - 6:30 pm
Prepare for the Yamim Noraim over Seudah Shlishit, as we wrap up the season's Saturday Night Learning sessions.  
Location TBD

"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
will return in the fall.

Want to brush up on your prayer skills, tropes or birkat hamazon? Click here.
Mazel Tov 
Happy Birthday!

Birthday Cake

JUNE BIRTHDAYS             12 Laura Berger        

 13 Bess Glazier                   14 Phillip Litt               

 14 Cecily Myers

 14 Marla Schloss

16 Ilana Glazier

20 Davida Robinson    

21 Carol Golob                                                

21 Marni Jacobson                               

24 Jessica Singer                                         

25 Max Feber                                   

26 Herb Lantor                                                        

26 Karen Rosenberg

28 Madeline Kaufman

28 Ruth Webber

JUNE ANNIVERSARIES            Jewish Wedding

12  Dan & Miry Serlin

13  Andy & Libby Beider

13  Mark & Amy Robbins

20  John Marcotte & Vicki Freedman

21  Phillip & Cheryl Litt

22  Steve & Joan Freedman

22  Leonard & Sharon Rosen

24  Belmont & Gertrude Kershenbaum

25  Lowell Schmeltz & Ilana Glazier

26  Ron & Sharon Gadoth-Goodman

27  Ken & Shula Brown

27  Lenny & Robin Jacobson

27  Karyn and Barrett Zeff                                             

28  Robert & Laurie Kimmel

28  Noel & Judy Lawson

29  Mark & Loraine Kuhn

30  Alan & Barbara Funk


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Refuah Sh'leimah/Wishing a Speedy Recovery.  

Please e-mail Michael Golob or call the synagogue: 248-432-2729 to add a name to our communal mishebeirach list.   


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B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.