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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Nosson Nota Burr

The Whole Community Feels the Effect

Spirituality and goodness leave an indelible mark on everyone in their orbit.

Before the Meraglim left to Eretz Yisroel on their mission of espionage, Moshe supplied them with a list of objectives. One of these was to check whether "there is a tree or not" -- היש בה עץ אם אין. Rashi explains that Moshe was asking they check if there is a Tzadik, a righteous one, whose merit would protect them. The Gemara elaborates that this refers to Iyov, whose years were as long as a tree and who could protect them.

How puzzling! We know the people in Eretz Canaan were extremely wicked. In fact, Rashi writes earlier that the people of Canaan were the worst of all nations. They obviously had no appreciation for a Tzadik in their midst and surely did not strive to emulate or learn from his good deeds. Why would the merit of such a Tzadik protect them? And just one! He himself would probably prefer the Yidden become his neighbors, instead of such resha'im!

We see from here that spirituality and goodness leave an indelible mark on everyone in their orbit, even if the goodness is not appreciated or acknowledged. Though the people of Canaan would not have given the Tzadik a passing glance, his merit would have still been strong enough to protect them. How much greater must be its effect on those who actively seek out a good environment and role models such as a shul or Rav.

May we all find ourselves among wonderful people and raise each other up to even greater spiritual heights.

Good Shabbos!

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