Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
These are the days of graduation ceremonies and end of the year parties – all in the framework of corona restrictions. This is what Rav Asher Cohen wrote to the girls graduating from Amit Hillel High School in Rehovot:
“Opposite the ten spies in this week’s Torah portion who bring back a slanderous report on the Land of Israel, only two men stand tall. These two showed a different spirit, a firm stance, and a solid faith: Calev Ben-Yefuneh and Yehoshua Bin-Nun. They alone tried to persuade the people that they must continue on their journey to the Land of Israel, in opposition to the other ten spies. From where did Calev and Yehoshua draw their strength? First, from prayer. Rashi explains that Calev walked alone to the Machpelah Cave to pray on the graves of the patriarchs and matriarchs and thereby gained the capacity not to be influenced by the other spies. Second, from blessing. The parasha tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu changed the name of Hoshea Bin-Nun to Yehoshua and blessed him thus: ‘HaShem will save you from the counsel of the other spies’. Until today, these are two incredibly powerful tools. There are those who try to describe them as primitive and obsolete, but their power is enormous. May it be God’s will that, with the conclusion of 12 years of study, you will choose wisely and not forget these two tools that serve as a compass to guide us – prayer at the graves of the righteous in order to attach ourselves to our holy ancestors and to our roots, and connection with a great person whose blessing gives us strength.
Best wishes for much success in the future.”