Sin of the Spies Continues
Just in time for Parshat Shelach (Part II):
Newsflash: Eretz Yisrael Rejects Avraham Burg!
Shortly after the end of World War II, at a Shabbat table in Jerusalem, the discussion turned to the regrettable phenomenon of visitors who tour the Land of Israel, and then return home badmouthing the country. "These tourists complain about the heat, the poverty, the backwardness, the government - and discourage other Jews from moving here," lamented one of those present. The room became quiet. Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Kook, son of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook, the first chief rabbi, responded by relating the following parable.
"There was once a wealthy man who desired to marry a certain young lady. She was the most beautiful girl in town, and was blessed with many talents and a truly refined character. Since her family was not well-off, they were eager about the possible match with the wealthy man.
The young woman, however, was not interested in the match. Rich or not, the young man was coarse and ill-mannered. She refused to meet with him.
The father, anxious that his daughter should get married, pressured her to meet with the young man. 'After all, one meeting doesn't obligate you to marry him!' To please her father, the young woman agreed.
The following Shabbat, the fellow arrived at the house as arranged. A few minutes later, the girl made her entrance: her hair uncombed, wearing a crumpled, worn dress and shabby house slippers. Appalled at her disheveled appearance, it didn't take long before the young man excused himself and made a hurried exit.
"What everyone says about this girl - it's not true," exclaimed the astonished young man to his friends. "She's a hideous old hag!"
Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah then explained his parable. Superficially, it would appear that the young fellow had rejected the young woman. But in truth, she had rejected him. So too, the Land of Israel does not display her beauty to all who visit. Not everyone is worthy enough to merit seeing the special qualities of Eretz Yisrael. It appears as if the dissatisfied visitors are the ones who reject the land - but in reality, it is the land that rejects them.
[Rav Chanan Morrison- Adapted from "Malachim Kivnei Adam" by Rabbi Simcha Raz, pp. 227-278, 230