You are on page 1of 2

Nine For Minyan?

…Shla274 – Kerbel 1
TORAH-FAX 5774 SHLACH
SHLA274
NINE FOR A MINYAN?
BY RABBI PAUL DAVID KERBEL
It is hard to believe that it has been thirty years sine I s!ent a year in Israel as !art o"
#y rabbinial shool trainin$% I had the $ood "ort&ne to ta'e a lass (ith a !ro"essor
(ho t&rned o&t to be one o" the best teahers I have ever st&died (ith% His na#e is
)ev Man'o(it*% He is a !ro"essor and de!art#ent head at Hebre( +niversity and an
advisor to ,ad -ashe#% .he o&rse I too' (as /Iss&es in the A"ter#ath o" the
Holoa&st%0 It (as 1ro"essor Man'o(it* (ho introd&ed #e to the (ritin$s o" Abba
Kovner 21314513476 a resistane "i$hter7 Holoa&st s&rvivor7 8e(ish 9ri$ade leader7
Ille$al I##i$ration oordinator and one settled in Israel7 bea#e one o" Israel:s #ost
i#!ortant (riters and !oets%
My interest in Abba Kovner lead #e to this story (hih has nothin$ to do (ith the
Holoa&st7 b&t everythin$ to do (ith (hat it #eans to be a 8e(% ;ne day7 in the early
years o" the State o" Israel7 so#eone ta!!ed Kovner on the sho&lder and as'ed hi# to
<oin nine other !eo!le in #a'in$ a #inyan% Kovner "o&nd so#ethin$ to !&t on his
head and <oined the#% At the #o#ent7 havin$ lost !arents7 "a#ily and "riends in the
Holoa&st7 "eelin$ alone and disonneted7 he !rayed (ith the#7 and in the o&rse o"
this short servie he a#e to reali*e that he "elt that he belon$ed7 that he o&nted7 that
other 8e(s needed hi#%
Abba Kovner (as involved in the reation o" the =ias!ora M&se&# on the a#!&s o"
.el Aviv +niversity that #any o" &s have visited% He hel!ed to reate a s!eial orner
(hih he alled /.he Minyan%0 In this orner there (ere nine (a> "i$&res
re!resentin$ a variety o" 8e(s "ro# di""erent ethni $ro&!s <oinin$ to$ether to reate a
sared o##&nity7 a #inyan% ?hy only nine (a> "i$&res Kovner (as as'ed7 (hen
everybody 'no(s yo& need ten !eo!le "or a #inyan? Kovner ans(ered /the absene
Nine For Minyan?…Shla274 – Kerbel 2
o" the tenth (as a all to the vie(er7 a all to <oin the#7 to be o&nted7 to let the
vie(er 'no( that the #inyan annot $o on (itho&t the vie(ers hel!%0
.oday7 (e read 1arshat Shelah Leha and st&dy one o" the lo(est and #ost di""i&lt
#o#ents in the .orah narrative so "ar% ?e read o" the o##and "or t(elve tribal
leaders to so&t o&t the land o" Israel% .heir #ission is to "ind o&t@ /(hat 'ind o"
o&ntry is it? Are the !eo!le (ho d(ell there (ea' or stron$? Fe( or #any? Is it a
$ood o&ntry? Aan (e onB&er it?
,o& all 'no( (hat ha!!ened% ;" the t(elve s!ies t(o7 8osh&a and Aaleb o#e ba'
on"ident and enth&siasti abo&t the !otential to reate a 8e(ish nation% 9&t the
#a<ority7 ten o" the s!ies <oin to$ether to !resent the /ne$ative0 re!ort7 "illed (ith "ear
and tre!idation% .here is no (ay (e an onB&er and r&le this land%
N&#bers 14@27 (hih desribes the ten s!ies as an /edah hara:ah07 Ca (i'ed
o##&nity:7 is ironially the so&re "or the rabbis "or the r&lin$ in 8e(ish la( that ten
is the #ini#&# n&#ber o" ad&lts reB&ired "or a $ro&! to be o&nted as a o##&nity
2see also 21sal# 42@17 9erahot Da E 21b7 F&th 4@2 and Me$illah 2G b7 Ket&bot 7a E
b and Henesis 14@G26% .he Fabbis t&rn a disheartenin$ and ne$ative story into a
lesson o" #eanin$ and val&e% It ta'es a #ini#&# o" ten to #a'e a C'ehillah 'edosha:7
a Choly o##&nity%:
Kovner:s #essa$e is tr&e o" the #inyan and tr&e o" 8e(ish li"e% ?e are #eant to live
as 8e(s as !art o" a o##&nity% 8&dais# annot tr&ly be lived in isolation% Kovner is
teahin$ &s@ hel! #a'e a #inyanI be involved7 <oin a syna$o$&e or or$ani*ationI
s&!!ort yo&r 8e(ish o##&nity thro&$h t*eda'ah% ?itho&t eah o" &s7 the o##&nity
is not o#!lete% At o&r syna$o$&e7 in o&r 8e(ish and $eneral o##&nity 7and7
standin$ &! "or Israel in the "ae o" &n!reedented hallen$es7 Kovner is as'in$ &s@
be the tenth !erson% Feel onneted% 9e a !art o" one o" the $reatest enter!rises in
(orld history – the 8e(ish !eo!le%