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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Bemidbar: Parashat Shelah: Moshes Prayer
In this week's parasha, Shelah, we read of the episode of the Meragelim, spies that were sent by Moshe into Israel to learn about the land and the people before Bnei Yisrael entered. Upon their return, the nation heard terrible, frightening reports of how the land was abnormal and dangerous. Hashem was angered by this negative report given by the Meragelim and looked to punish them and the nation. Moshe then prays to Hashem:

"Now may Hashem's strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 'Hashem is patient, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.'" (Numbers, 14: 17-18)

The Ibn Ezra explains that the large yod, which is noticeable larger than other letters in the Torah, is close to the trait "erech apayim" (which appears in the next verse) which means patience. All those who are truly "erech apayim" and have fortitude & patience to deal with life's downturns, have the power to break the trait of anger.

Moshe reminds Hashem to strengthen this ability (Kivyachol), of breaking His awesome anger at the nation because of the sin of the Meragelim. This will allow Hashem true patient midah to shine through and enable the nation to survive.

Indeed, the Hizqouni explains the absence of the name of Hashem "El" – which connotes the strict, unyielding trait of Hashem- that Moshe only wanted to remind Hashem His forgiving side.

At this crucial time in our history, Moshe prayed vehemently and carefully, selecting his words with the utmost sensitivity. He did not rely on Hashem's vow to bring the nation to Israel. We learn that Hashem forgiving the nation was not a given. It could have gone either way.

Today, are we careful with our ways to such a degree? Do we "expect" Hashem to always be forgiving, and accept our Selihot come Eloul, and accept our prayers come the high holidays? We must not forget that Hashem has proverbial "boiling point", kivyachol.

We should do our utmost to remain on Hashem's "good side". For example, there is new custom of making gatherings Friday afternoon before Shabbat. Are we aware that such gatherings are against Maran explicitly? As new practices come into play in our summer time lives, we must be aware of this halacha and others, and always check if our daily practices are within the Jewish boundaries. Our merit will then earn us true salvation with the coming of Mashiah Sidqenou Amen.
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