18.06.2011 16.Siwan, 5771 Schlach Lechah
Repentance demands recognition of sin and contrition for past misdeeds; only after atoning ought the individual to proceed with an act of reparation.
‘We are now ready; let us go up to the place that God described, for we have sinned!’ (Numbers 14:40)
After the sin of the spies and the failure of the nation to enter the Land of Israel as a result of the ill-advised reconnaissance mission, divine punishment is meted out immediately. But what follows this sin and punishment is an even stranger account, which seems to challenge the very power of repentance to achieve forgiveness.
“Moses related these words [of penalty and destruction in the desert] to all the children of Israel… And they arose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying: ‘We are now ready; let us go up to the place that God described, for we have sinned!’ And Moses said, ‘Do not go up; God is not in your midst.’…