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Aliza Freedman, Australia
Parshat Shelach Lecha
The narrative of this portion is the journey of the twelve scouts, representing each tribe of Israel, into the land of Canaan. But the significance is the vision of the two men, Caleb and Joshua, who saw the beauty of the land and their belief in this vision of the success of the venture.
What is significant also in today’s world is the lesson that what is popular (the opinion of the other ten men) is not always right, and what is right (the vision of Caleb and Joshua) is not always popular. What is popular in the world today (the de-legitimization of Israel as a nation), and thus what is right, (that Israel is a thriving, democratic country), is not popular.
The lesson learnt by the community of Moses was the nation’s unwillingness to confront the challenges to inherit the land of Israel, even though the land had an abundance of trees and fruit to feed the people. This is still relevant today as Israel faces so much danger, and is illustrated perfectly by Golda Meir: “We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when cotton is grown, and when strawberries bloom in Israel”. (“As Good as Golda: The Warmth and Wisdom of Israel’s Prime Minister”. Published 1970.)
Aliza Freedman is a Hebrew calligrapher, artist and weaver. She has exhibited throughout Australia and also in London, as well as having work included in publications by Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and Lark Books in the U.S.A. Aliza lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband Alan and three children, Raphael, Kelila and Mikayla. Aliza's art is integrated in the Women of the Book logo.