“Send thou men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give unto B’nei Yisrael; of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a prince among them.” Numbers 13:1 (The Israel Bible™)
A new campaign to sell real estate in Judea and Samaria features a meeting with two very special clients, Joshua and Caleb, the Biblical spies, who happen to be checking out the neighborhood for their families and flocks. Though meant to be amusing, the campaign is a reminder of the sacred aspect of every material action in Israel – and a warning of modern incarnation of the Biblical sin against the land.
The video was posted on Sunday by real estate agent Guy Amit to market apartments presently under construction in Maaleh Lavona, a small community in Samaria established 33 years ago. It opens with an animated segment showing Joshua and Caleb spying out the land of Israel. A godlike voice instructs them,
And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are few or many. Numbers 13:18
The two Biblical characters discover a mysterious cave which takes them forward in time. They find themselves at a construction site, where Amit is discussing a new apartment with a young couple. Joshua draws his sword and confronts the strangers with the Biblical phrase he is destined to utter later in the Bible.
Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? Joshua 5:13
Amit introduces himself and the couple as Jews, explaining where and when they are.
“By some miracle, you’ve jumped forward in time about 3,300 years, more or less,” Amit explains.
Joshua responds Biblically.
Is anything too hard for Hashem? Genesis 18:14
Joshua then asks, “Are you the Jews that have been living here since we entered into the land of Israel?”
Amit hesitates before explaining. “Not exactly,” he says. “Let’s just say there have been a few surprises along the way. But now we are home, and that is all that is important.”
Caleb asks about the information he was sent to discover. “Do you dwell in camps or strongholds?”
In response, Amit takes the two Biblical characters on a tour of an apartment, reassuring them that despite a distinct lack of pasture for grazing inside the community, there is a lovely petting zoo.
Amit conceived of the Biblically-based marketing strategy idea as a reaction to what he perceives as the modern equivalent of the sin of the ten evil spies described in the Book of Numbers. The story describes how 12 princes, one representing each tribe, entered into Israel in order to spy it out and assess it. Despite the obvious bounty, ten of the spies disparaged the Promised Land and recommended that the Jews return to Egypt.
Joshua and Caleb refuted their claims, calling for Israel to immediately enter. But as a result of the sin of the spies spreading slander against the Holy Land, the Jews were sent back into the desert for 40 years, where all of that generation, save Joshua and Caleb, died.
“In Israel, much to my dismay, the decision to buy property is based on stigma and trend,” Amit told Breaking Israel News. “Some locations are trendy and sought-after, while others seem to have an undeserved bad name. This is a type of baseless slander, similar to what was said by the spies in the Bible.”
Amit was dismayed that so many buyers went after public opinion, refusing to consider larger and nicer apartments in wonderful communities right next door to towns that were in vogue.
“I wanted people to see this lovely town from the perspective of Caleb and Joshua, who did not follow the trend,” Amit said. “As we see in the Bible, they shopped the way prospective buyers should shop. They were totally objective in assessing the land.”
This is, in general, a good real-estate strategy, but it takes on a deeper meaning in Israel.
“In Israel, a Jew has the ability to find a good home for his family and at the same time do an enormous mitzvah (Torah commandment),” Amit said. “If you look at it that way, you come closer to seeing Israel in the way that Joshua and Caleb saw the land.”
Amit quoted Rabbi Shimon Yitzchaki, an eleventh century sage known by the acronym ‘Rashi’, who wrote, “Hatred destroys reason.” Amit explained, “The Jews in the desert saw the amazing land of Israel, but wanted to return to Egypt. Here we have an amazing country, a miracle. Every inch is blessed, if you have the eyes to see it, if you look at it objectively, with reason, like Joshua and Caleb.”
Joshua and Caleb Scope Out Apartments in Samaria [Hebrew]
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