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Worth of a Diamond
The fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber Schneerson, was once expounding on the qualities of the simple Jews who serve G-d with pure, childlike faith. One prominent and wealthy chassid, a diamond dealer named Reb Monye Monesohn, commented, “I don’t see it.”
Later, this chassid was meeting with the Rebbe and had his pack of diamonds with him. The Rebbe asked him to show his wares. Reb Monye took some diamonds out of the pack and showed them to the Rebbe, and then pointed out one that was of outstanding value.
The Rebbe glanced at the diamond and said, “I don’t see it.”
“But Rebbe,” said the chassid, “to appreciate the worth of this diamond one must be a maven.”
To which the Rebbe responded, “To appreciate the value of a Jew, one must be a maven.”
In this week’s Torah portion we read about the spies, who were sent to bring back a report about the Promised Land and returned with alarming news about giants and a land that “consumes its people.” They expressed doubts about G-d’s ability to subdue the people and secure the land as an inheritance for the Jewish people.
The key to the mistake of the spies was that, to their understanding, once the Jews entered Israel and began to earn a living from the soil, everything would follow the laws of nature. Thus, the conquering of the land must follow the rules of nature as well. This led them to conclude that they could not possibly subdue the land’s inhabitants. They lacked an appreciation and understanding that G-d was the Master of the world, and He alone determines the rules by which the world will run.
They also failed to appreciate the value of the Jewish people, even when they are not engaged in spiritual pursuits such as prayer or Torah study. They assumed that once the Jews adopted an agrarian lifestyle, they would have no spiritual advantage over the surrounding nations, and no reason why G-d should grant them a military victory. In this state, it may not be as easy to discern a Jew’s spiritual advantage. For this, one must be a maven. In truth, every Jew possesses a soul which is “an actual part of G-d above.” G-d created the world on behalf of the Jewish people, and thus there is no way that G-d would allow his people to be vanquished “by natural order.”
The world is likened to a palace that a king builds for his beloved daughter and son-in-law. Naturally, the king builds the palace to express his honor and glory; however, the palace bereft of the king’s children has no glory at all. Similarly, the world expresses G-d’s glory when His children dwell in it in safety, peace and tranquility.

For many generations, we have been exiled from our homeland in Israel. G-d dispersed us so we could share our spiritual treasures worldwide, and gather up the divine sparks hidden in creation. The time has come for us to return home, to dwell together with G-d, in the sanctified land He created for His glory. Through our mitzvot and good deeds, we have transformed the world into a place where G-d’s presence can openly express itself. Soon it will not take a maven to recognize the value of the Jewish people.

 

 


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