What is a Rasha?

Here is a totally new definition of the word Rasha (evil person): At the beginning of the Portion, it is said that the Meraglim (spies) spoke Lashon HaRa (evil speech) about the Land, even though at the end of the previous Portion the story of the evil tongue of Miriam took place. “These resha’im (evil men) saw it – but didn’t learn a lesson from it”, says Rashi. That is, why are they considered resha’im? Because a dramatic event happened near them – Miriam spoke evil tongue and was punished for it and the whole Nation knew about it – yet they did not learn any lesson from this event, and right afterwards they spoke Lashon HaRa themselves and gave a bad name to Eretz Israel. Being a Rasha means to live without contemplating, without paying attention, without deriving practical, useful, personal conclusions from that which happens around you.
We can implement this all the time: Did you see a stubborn politician who dragged the entire country to elections? You can be upset with him when you speak politics with your friends, but you can also check your own stubbornness and see where it is taking you. Were you shocked when you heard about the seven year old girl? You can take part of stormy discussions on the network, but you can also make a decision to speak with the children around you about awareness and protection.
The sin of the spies is considered, until this very day, as a very grave sin, this is why we should realize it started with the fact that the spies simply let news and events pass them by, and didn’t try to learn any message from every thing that they saw or heard. Each person is welcome to think by themselves about present day examples, so that we will not end up being such Resha’im.

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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