Select Halacha by date:

Or by subject:

Or by keyword:
Search titles and keywords only
Search All    

Weekly Perasha Insights
Shabbat Morning Derasha on the Parasha
Register To Receive The Daily Halacha By Email / Unsubscribe
Daily Parasha Insights via Live Teleconference
Syrian Sephardic Wedding Guide
Download Special Tefilot
A Glossary Of Terms Frequently Referred To In The Daily Halachot
About The Sources Frequently Quoted In The Halachot
About Rabbi Eli Mansour
Purchase Passover Haggadah with In Depth Insights by Rabbi Eli Mansour and Rabbi David Sutton
About DailyHalacha.Com
Contact us
Useful Links
Refund/Privacy Policy
Back to Home Page

Click Here to Sponsor Daily Halacha
"Delivered to Over 6000 Registered Recipients Each Day"

Download print

Parashat Shelah: Satan and the Summer Months

The Torah in Parashat Shelah tells the distressing story of the spies, who were sent to see Eretz Yisrael and then convinced the people that they would be unable to conquer the land. Curiously, the Torah tells us that the spies were sent to Eretz Yisrael during the time of “Bikureh Anabim” – when the grapes began to ripen. This occurs in the summertime, and Hazal indeed tell us that the spies left on the 29th of Sivan, and returned forty days later, on the 8th of Ab.

The question arises, why is this information significant? How does it add to our understanding of this tragic story?

The Midrash Pelia – a compendium of cryptic comments by our Sages on the Humash – explains that the timing of the scouts’ mission is the reason why it failed. The mission ended in tragedy because it took place during the period of “Bikureh Anabim.”

The great Kabbalist Rav Shimshon of Ostropoli, who authored a commentary to the Midrash Pelia, explains that while the Satan always poses a threat to the Jewish People, its power increases during specific times of the year, including the two summer months – Tammuz and Ab. Indeed, as we know, many calamities befell the Jewish Nation during these months, such as the destruction of both Bateh Mikdash. The Hebrew word “Anabim” is spelled “Ayin,” “Nun,” “Bet,” “Mem,” and the letters preceding these four letters are “Samech,” “Mem,” “Alef” and “Lamed” – which spell the name by which the Satan is called (“Sama-el”). (In truth, the word “Anabim” is written also with the letter “Yod,” but according to Kabbalistic tradition, the word is written in the “heavenly Torah” without a “Yod”; this subject requires a fuller discussion in a separate context.) On this basis, Rav Shimshon explains, we can understand the Midrash’s remark. The phrase “Bikureh Anabim” may be read to mean, “that which precedes ‘Anabim.’” The Midrash is telling us that this was a time when the Satan is given special power, and thus our evil inclination is particularly strong. Hence, the timing of this expedition is the cause of its failure, as the scouts were especially prone to succumbing to their Yeser Ha’ra (evil inclination).

This notion, that the Satan has special power during the summer months, is plainly visible even in our day. The months of Tammuz and Ab generally fall during the months of July and August, which we instinctively associate with a “loose” atmosphere, and when we are all especially prone to relaxing our religious standards. This is also the time of year when modest dress becomes a particularly difficult challenge in light of the hot weather and generally laid-back atmosphere. Not coincidentally, our schools and yeshivot close down during these months, and students are left without their ordinary framework of Torah study and outside the Torah environment in which they spend their days throughout the rest of the year. All this proves the accuracy of Rav Shimshon of Astropoli’s depiction of the Satan’s unique strength during Tammuz and Ab.

Moshe told the spies before they left, “Ve’hithazaktem” – “You shall be strong.” We need to be especially strong and vigilant during this time of year to maintain our religious standards and not relax our commitment to Halacha. Certainly, we are all entitled to a relaxing vacation, which often proves valuable and vitally important for our physical and emotional wellbeing. At the same time, however, especially because of the relaxed, laid-back environment of summer, we need to take extra special care and, as Moshe instructed, to “be strong” in maintaining proper Torah standards. Recognizing the special power given to the Satan during the summer months, let us redouble our efforts to avoid improper behavior and remain faithful to our values even as we enjoy a well-deserved period of relaxation.


Sefer/Parasha:
Hag HaSukkot: Teshuva Me’Ahava
Kal Nidrei
Partial Teshuva
Elul - Opening our Ears and Hearts to God
Parashat Ki Teseh- The Yeser Hara Strikes When Man is Distracted: Eshet Yefat Toar
Lessons Learned from Sedek, Sedek Tirdof
Parashat Re'eh: The Long-Term Reward of Torah Study and Sedaka
Parashat Ekev- Reward – Now or Later
Vaetchana: Nahamu – Consolation for What?
Parashat Devarim- The Root Cause of the Hurban
Parashat Matot- Word Power
Parashat Pinhas- The Missing Day of the Bein HaMesarim
Parashat Balak- The Jewish home
Parashat Hukat- The Well of Miriam
Parashat Korah: “It Is Not From My Heart “- The Torah is From God
Page of 46
688 Parashot found