Parshat Shlach – Essense of a Jew

Many Jewish ceremonies can only be performed in the presence of a Minyan — a quorum of ten adult Jewish males. The same is true of certain prayers, such as Kaddish, as well as the reading of the Torah. The Minyan represents a core cummunity. The source in the Torah that teaches us that ten men form a community is the story of the spies sent by the Jews in the wilderness to scout the land of Israel. The ten spies that slandered the land are referred to as a “community”. Therefore, the prerequisite for so many of our holy acts, the minyan, is derived from a bunch of sinners!

The lesson that we can take from this is powerful. Although the ten spies sinned, they were not “sinners”. They were righteous men who sinned, and were punished for it, but their essense was not evil. Every person has a pure and holy soul (neshama) that constantly strives to connect with God. That soul remains pure regardless of what our evil inclination compels our mind and bodies to do. We have the power to bury our soul under layers of obstacles, or to remove the obstacles and let it soar.Whatever we decide to do, the essence of our soul remains pure and holy.

When ten Jews join together they form a holy bond of pure souls, regardless of their sins. This is the power of the Minyan.

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