by Rabbi Nussbaum
VOLUME 96 NUMBER 5
June 19, 2020
Sivan 27, 5780
Candlelighting Time 8:13 PM
The parsha of the spies that were sent to Eretz Yisroel is complex, very profound and confusing. When Moshe approached Hashem with the request of the nation to send the spies the response is very disturbing and telling of the true ‘attitude’ of Hashem concerning their request. Rashi cites the Midrash that Hashem would allow them the opportunity to err and therefore not merit entry into Eretz Yisroel. Hashem had guaranteed that Eretz Yisroel was a wonderful place to live and yet the people challenged this promise with their own investigation. A lack of trust in Hashem was intolerable and indicated that they really didn’t want to go there as the narrative clearly suggests.
Furthermore, Moshe davened that Yehoshua, his prized disciple, should not be swayed by the evil plot of the other spies. He altered his name from ‘Hoshea’ to “Yehoshua’ adding Hashem’s name in order to encourage Heavenly assistance for this purpose. Obviously, Moshe and Yehoshua were aware that something was afoot that was malicious and ominous. Additionally, when they traveled through Chevron, Kalev prostrated himself on the graves of the Patriarchs beseeching them to help him thwart the fearsome conspiracy of his colleagues. Even as Hashem portended to portray Eretz Yisroel as a delightful land with exceedingly luscious and mouthwatering produce, the rebellious spies used this as a veritable proof that this land was an odd and dangerous place to live!
There are various reasons why the spies conspired to frighten the people from entering into Israel. Chofetz Chaim quotes Zohar, a book of mystical teachings, that the spies, leaders of their respective tribes, were concerned that they would lose their status once they arrived in Israel. However, against the backdrop that Hashem’s ‘aspiration’ that they should go there, all types of excuses and alibis fail to justify such flawed reasoning. Even though Nachmonides expounds in great length to clarify their conduct, in the final analysis, how can one validate a mutiny against Hashem’s explicit assurance that Eretz Yisroel was a welcoming and beautiful land?
The upshot of this episode was human intervention versus Divine verdict. There was no true doubt that the land of Israel was the best choice for the nation, however, as in many instances our perception is faulty. Despite the fact that we are keenly aware of our intellectual feebleness in comparison to Hashem’s profundity and wisdom which, of course, far surpasses ours, this is the challenge that we encounter in life. When the people petitioned for meat, Moshe ostensibly stated to Hashem that how can He supply such a tremendous amount of food for the nation. Although we discussed this last week, however it would appear that Moshe doubted the capability of Hashem to feed the nation. Miriam and Aron spoke negatively about Moshe seemingly skeptical about his understanding of his duties toward Hashem and his wife. Did they not consider the possibility that his position was based upon Hashem’s directive that he abstains from relations with his wife? Even the greatest amongst us mistakenly perceive that which is transpiring; therefore, we can realize the challenge that confronts us; however, we are not exempt from exerting ourselves to properly conduct ourselves.
As tremendous as the hurtle is, we must always remember that it is our duty and privilege to serve Hashem. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to focus intently on our obligations to ensure that they are properly attended to. At times we may fail, but Hashem will see in our hearts, our sincerity.
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
The white and ‘techeilis’ bluish color of the fringes of the talis that we wear are indicative of purity and sanctity. Our goal is to imbue ourselves with these two imperative and dynamic characteristics. S’FAS EMES