Wise and Righteous

The Parsha begins שלח לך אנשים. Rashi on the words כלם אנשים says כל אנשים שבמקרא לשון חשיבות ואותה שעה כשרים היו meaning they were Tzadikim. The Targum Yonason Ben Uziel says on the word אנשים that they were חריפין-sharp/astute people. Lastly, the Ibn Ezra says on the word אנשים that they were גבורים. So it would appear that everyone agrees that אנשים is a לשון of חשובים but there are three ways in explaining in what their חשיבות was. Either it’s because they were כשרים, or the fact that they were חריפין, or because they were גבורים. The reason why they needed to be גבורים is probably in order so they shouldn’t fear the ילידי הענקים and mighty strong people in the land. The reason why they needed to be חריפין is probably because they have to know what to look for and how to understand what they are seeing. Lastly, they needed to be כשרים in order that the people could trust them when they report back about their mission. The Meraglim probably needed to be people of all three of the above mention qualities and each Rishon is just emphasizing one of the three that they needed to be.

It’s interesting to note that only Rashi says ואותה שעה כשרים היו. It would seem that חריפין and גבורים they remained even longer than ואותה שעה. This is obvious because חריפין and גבורים are natural skills and qualities that a person is born with which usually last and it’s only being a כשר, a Tzadik which is a lifelong struggle. As the Gemara Nidah 16b says מלאך הממונה על ההריון נוטל טיפה ומביאה לפני המקום ואומר לפניו טיפה זו מה תהא עליה גבור או חלש חכם או טיפש. But the Gemara concludes there אבל צדיק ורשע לא קאמר ליה because whether or not a person is a Tzadik is a lifelong mission.

It’s noteworthy that we see from the above Gemara that a person could be a טיפש and still be a great Tzadik. On the other hand, we see that one could be a great חכם and he could still be a great Tzadik because both the חכם and the טיפש both have the choice of being a צדיק or a רשע. As the Mesilas Yesharim says in his Hakdama that people think if a person is involved with עניני מוסר, then he probably doesn’t have such good mind and he writes as follows: ולא ישאר לימוד הדברים האלה וקריאת הספרים מזה המין כי אם אצל אותם שאין שכלם כל - כך דק וקרוב להיות גס, שאלה תראה אותם שוקדים על כל זה ולא יזוזו ממנו, עד שלפי המנהג הנוהג בעולם כשתראה אחד מתחסד לא תוכל לימנע מלחשוד אותו לגס השכל.

But it’s not the case rather we see that someone could be very bright and be a great Tzadik.

The Klausenberger Rebbe once said that people today think the greater בטלן (an incompetent person, unable to accomplish anything) one is, the greater Tzadik he is. So since we have the principle of ירידת הדורות, it must be that if the Tzadikim of today are such בטלנים, then the Tzadikim of the previous generation are even greater בטלנים. And he concluded just imagine what Moshe Rabbeinu needed to be like. The Rebbe was mocking this idea that people associate צדקות with טיפשות because it’s not true.

Rav Hutner once said that smart people are קרח מכאן ומכאן that they get the worst of both worlds. The reason is because the טיפש, the not so smart person, if he does something bad, people will justify it and just say he doesn’t understand and if he does something good, they’ll say he is such a kind person. However, the חכם, if he does something bad, people say he is such a רשע and that he for sure meant bad. And if he does something good, then people say he probably has a cheshbon, meaning he doesn’t really mean to do something good rather he just has a cheshbon for what he’s doing. This is the downside of being smart. However, we believe that one could be smart and be a Tzadik.

ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם ואחרי עיניכם

The end of the Parsha is the Parsha of Tzitzis. There is a parallel between the words used in the Parsha of Tzitzis and the story of the Meraglim. For example, the Meraglim were told וראיתם את הארץ and in the Parsha of Tzitzis, the Pasuk says וראיתם אתו. The Pasuk says ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם ואחרי עיניכם and Rashi points out that תתורו is same as מתור הארץ. Also that which the Pasuk by Tzitzis mentions the לב and עין are also the two אברים mentioned by the Meraglim in the Pasuk ונהי בעינינו כחגבים וכן היינו בעיניהם and in Devarim 1:28 the Pasuk says אחינו המסו את לבבנו. Lastly, the words אשר אתם זנים is also found in the Parsha of the Meraglim when the Pasuk says ונשאו את זנותיכם. So we see many parallels between the Parsha of Tzitzis and the Parsha of the Meraglim.

On the Pasuk ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם ואחרי עיניכם, Rashi says הלב והעינים הם מרגלים לגוף that the eyes and heart are the Meraglim for a person’s body. In Torah, לב refers to the mind and never to emotion. So that which the Torah commands us not to be led astray by our eyes we understand, but what does it mean a person shouldn’t be led astray by his mind? What is a person if not for his mind?

We see from here that one is not identified by his mind and the Torah is commanding us not to be led astray by our mind just like a person shouldn’t be led astray by his eyes. A person has to be able to control his mind that he doesn’t listen and stray after it. Just like a person “can go out of his mind,” so a person can, as if to say, separate himself from his mind and he is not his mind. Therefore a person must control his mind and not let it wander and he needs to be in control of what he sees and what he thinks.

The Gemara in Brachos 12b says that אחרי לבבכם זו מינות ואחרי עיניכם זו זנות. Although these seem like two different Mitzvos, the Rambam in Sefer Mitzvos לא תעשה מז puts them under one Mitzvah and he writes the following:

והמצוה המ"ז היא שהזהירנו שלא לתור אחרי לבבנו עד שנאמין דעות שהם הפך הדעות שחייבתנו התורה אבל נקצר מחשבתנו ונשים לה גבול תעמוד אצלו והוא מצות התורה ואזהרותיה. והוא אמרו יתעלה (פ' ציצית) ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם ואחרי עיניכם וכו' ע"ש.

The Rambam, including these two things under one לא תעשה, says that a person must make a גבול around his mind to prevent things from coming inside his head. There is a story said about a Jew that came to the Maggid of Mezeritch to ask for advice on how to prevent מחשבות זרות from entering his thoughts. The Maggid sent him to הרה"ק ר' זאב וואלף מזיטאמיר and he said from his you could learn how to prevent מחשבות זרות from entering your mind. At that time, ר' זאב וואלף wasn’t well known, but nevertheless this Jew set out to the town of זיטאמיר to find him. When he got to the town, the day was almost over but he asked around where ר' זאב וואלף lived and he went to the home that he was told. When he got there, he knocked multiple times but there was no answer and he stood there until morning. The next morning ר' זאב וואלף went to Shul and this Jew followed him around and observed him. But after all day of observing him, nothing came to this Jew that was really special and noteworthy about this ר' זאב וואלף. At the end of the day when he saw ר' זאב וואלף come into his home, he saw that he locked the gate. But the gate didn’t reach the bottom of the floor so ר' זאב וואלף would put a board of wood and wedge it there to close up the gap.

After a few days of observing ר' זאב וואלף and not coming up with anything eye opening, he told ר' זאב וואלף that the Maggid of Mezeritch sent him to him to learn this point in Avodas Hashem. So ר' זאב וואלף told him, that if he observed correctly, then he would realize that he showed him what the עצה was to block out מחשבות זרות. He said, that when he locks his door at night, not a single person enters his house without his permission and it doesn’t matter how many knocks there are. But it’s not only enough for him to lock the door to prevent people from coming in but he also needs to put the wood board (פאדוואראטניצע) at the bottom to close up the gap from the bottom of the door to the floor to prevent the rats from coming in. So to a Jew needs to realize that he must act like the בעל הבית on his head to only give permission to whoever and whatever is fit to enter his mind. Closing the gate prevents the תתורו אחרי לבבכם which addresses the upper part of his mind and the wood board put at the bottom of the gate to prevent the rats is the אחרי עיניכם which threatens the lower part of his mind. Each of these two things, ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם ואחרי עיניכם, are one idea of creating boundaries for a persons mind. It’s the idea of acting like a בעל הבית with his mind and thoughts.

Glory in the Galus

In Chapter 14, the Psukim say as follows:

(כ) ויאמר ה' סלחתי כדברך (כא) ואולם חי אני וימלא כבוד ה' את כל הארץ (כב) כי כל האנשים הראים את כבדי וכו' (כג) אם יראו את הארץ אשר נשבעתי לאבתם וכל מנאצי לא יראוה

On the words חי אני, Rashi writes the following:

לשון שבועה. כשם שאני חי וכבודי ימלא את כל הארץ,א כך אקיים להם, כי כל האנשים הרואים וגו' אם יראו את הארץ. הרי זה מקרא מסורס, חי אני כי כל האנשים אם יראו את הארץ וכבודי ימלא את כל הארץ, שלא יתחלל שמי במגפה הזאת לאמר מבלתי יכולת ה' להביאם, שלא אמיתם פתאום כאיש אחד אלא באיחור ארבעים שנה מעט מעט.

According to Rashi, the שבועה of חי אני is going on the later Pasuk that says the people of that generation won’t Eretz Yisrael and regarding that which it says after חי אני the Pasuk וימלא כבוד ה' את כל הארץ, Rashi brings two explanations (according to the רא"ם). The first explanation is Hashem saying just like חי אני וימלא כבוד ה' את כל הארץ so too the שבועה will be. According to the second explanation, it’s a side point answering up Moshes concern that the Goyim shouldn’t say about Hashem מבלי יכולת וכו' that Hashem will kill everyone off in a way that it’ll be וימלא כבוד ה' את כל הארץ.

However, the Psukim in Tehilim (106:26-27) say וישא ידו להם להפיל אותם במדבר: ולהפיל זרעם בגוים ולזרותם בארצות. These Psukim are discussing the Jews in the Midbar. It’s clear that the שבועה of וישא ידו להם is going on both the fact that the generation of the Midbar won’t enter Eretz Yisrael (להפיל אותם במדבר) and also that the generation that will enter will be exiled (ולהפיל זרעם בגוים ולזרותם בארצות). However, it would seem that the שבועה in the Parsha, ואולם חי אני, is only on the fact that the generation of the Midbar won’t enter Eretz Yisrael, but there is not mention of a שבועה that the people will eventually go into גלות. So where in the Psukim in the Parsha is there such a שבועה?

On the Pasuk ואולם חי אני וימלא כבוד ה' את כל הארץ, the Pesikta says אלו ישראל שנקראו כבוד כדכתיב (ישעיה מג,ז) כל הנקרא בשמי ולכבודי בראתיו יצרתיו אף עשיתיו, מכאן שנגזרה גזרה על ישראל שיהיו גולין לבין האומות. According to this, וימלא כבוד ה' את כל הארץ has nothing to do with the גזרה of that generation dying in the Midbar rather it’s an independent גזרה of Galus. Therefore, the שבועה of ואולם חי אני can be going on both things, as expressed in the Psukim in Tehillim.

But that which Galus is expressed from the Pasuk וימלא כבוד ה' את כל הארץ teaches us that Galus is not just a punishment but it’s also the idea of being מגלה כבוד שמים in the world. Through Klal Yisrael being in Galus amongst the Goyim and withstanding all the challenges and tribulations and pushing onward for so many generations creates a tremendous revelation of כבוד שמים in the world.

In the Nevuah of Yecheskel at the beginning of Chapter 3, the Pasuk says ברוך כבוד ה' ממקומו. The Radak explains that ממקומו is “from his place” referring to the Shechina leaving מבין הכרובים by the Churban as Klal Yisrael went into Galus and ברוך is Brachah which is a lashon of תוספת ברכה וכבוד. Meaning, that during the Galus when the Shechina is removed from its place, the Beis Hamikdash, that’s when there is an increase in כבוד שמים. That is the ברוך כבוד ה' ממקומו that there is a ברוך, meaning an increase, of כבוד ה' when the Shechina is ממקומו, removed from its place.

We see from here that its specifically when the Shechina, the כבוד, is removed from its place and Klal Yisrael is exiled amongst the Goyim, and we are tested and challenged with all sorts of difficulties that when we nevertheless prevail, we accomplish וימלא כבוד ה' את כל הארץ.


כל נשיא בהם

The Parshah begins with the twelve individuals who were tasked with spying out the land of EY. In describing these men, the Pasuk says איש אחד איש אחד למטה אבתיו תשלחו כל נשיא בהם. If one would read the simple reading of the Pasuk, the words כל נשיא בהם would mean that they sent every Nasi that there was by Jews. But that obviously can’t be, because the Pasuk says איש אחד איש אחד למטה אבתיו תשלחו. Also, these are not the only Nesiim because we know the official Nesiim have been mentioned in Parshas Naso. Therefore, when the Pasuk says כל נשיא בהם, it can’t mean all the Nesiim by the Jews.

Because of this issue, the Rashbam and אבן עזרא both explain that the word כל goes back. Meaning that one person was sent from each שבט and each one that was sent, meaning כל, was a נשיא בהם. That each one was someone who was נשא את לבם ללכת, כל אחד נשיא להתנדב ללכת, meaning they volunteered for the mission. The Rashbam points out that the trup on the word כל is a טפחא which functions as a closing trup, so the word כל is not connected to the words נשיא בהם therefore indicating that everyone one of them that was sent, was a נשיא בהם.

The תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל on this Pasuk says גברא חד גברא חד לשבטא דאבהתוי תשלחון מן קדם כל אמרכול דבהון. It would seem that he is learning that the כל נשיא בהם is every Nasi, but it’s referring to the Nesiim mentioned in Parshas Naso and they each sent איש אחד למטה אבתיו תשלחו. This could explain the תשלחון that it was the Nesiim who sent them and the כל נשיא בהם is going on the senders and not the individuals who were sent. The חזקוני actually says explicitly כל נשיא ישלח איש אחד משבטו that it was each Nasi who sent someone from their tribe.

Learn a Lesson

Rashi at the beginning of the Parshah quotes the Medrash Tanchuma saying למה נסמכה פרשת מרגלים לפרשת מרים, לפי שלקתה על עסקי דבה שדברה באחיה, ורשעים הללו ראו ולא לקחו מוסר. The fact that the Medrash asks למה נסמכה indicates that this was not the chronologically correct place for this event but yet it was put here to teach us a lesson.

However, Parshas בהעלותך ends with Klal Yisrael journeying from חצרות and encamping in פארן, and in the beginning of Parshas Shelach, the Pasuk says the Meraglim were sent from מדבר פארן. It would seem very clear that the episode with the Meraglim happened right after the incident with Miriam and therefore the way the Torah has it is the correct chronological order?

Rashi in the beginning of Parshas Devarim explains that Moshe hinted to Klal Yisrael their shortcomings by mentioning the places where these troubles occurred. Rashi writes regarding חצרות, that’s where מחלוקתו של קרח occurred. According to this, it’s possible that the next event chronologically after the incident with Miriam speaking Lashon Hara about Moshe was the dispute with Korach as it took place in חצרות. But it could also be that it took place before the מעשה מרים, because all we know is that they both took place in חצרות but we don’t know which happened first. So if the story with Korach happened after the מעשה מרים, then the question למה נסמכה is a good question because we should have the story with Korach immediately following the story with Miriam. Because of this, Rashi gives his explanation.

But we could still ask, that the story of Korach is much more connected with the story of Miriam because both of them have to do with going against Moshe, whereas the Meraglim was just about talking Lashon Hara against EY?

It could be that if the Parshah of Korach would be here, then we wouldn’t have asked the question of למה נסמכה, because it belongs here and we wouldn’t have learned the lesson that when you see something, you are supposed to learn a mussar.

But more than that, the lesson the Torah is trying to teach us that when you see something, you should learn a lesson, is not limited to a direct message like learning from Miriam that Korach should’ve learned not to speak against Moshe from her. But you should learn even a roundabout lesson, that when you see Miriam was punished was far talking badly about Moshe, you should that one should not even talk badly against the land. Therefore, the Torah puts the story with the Meraglim right after the story with Miriam to teach us that a person should be a רואה ולוקח מוסר even from things that are not so obvious.

בן נון

In the back of the sefer דרך פקודיך written by the בני יששכר, there are a few chapters that he wrote on in נ"ך. There he brings, in the name of Reb Herschel Zidetchover, the reason that he is called “bin nun” and not “ben nun” is because they took 2 נקודות out of the three that were under the ב of בן and put it under the י of הושוע. Being that the נקודות under the י from שרי would not have sounded out the י of יהושע correctly, so two of the נקודות that were part of the סגול for בן were taken and put under the י leaving the ב in בן with just one נקודה making it “bin nun”. But the Rav asked that it can’t be because much earlier in the torah it says ויקרא משה להושע בן נון יהושע so you the see the “bin” was in the has been, because it has been before he got the י for יהושע. See the Ramban in Parshas כי תשא when Moshe refers to Yehoshua as a נער, there he explains why it says “bin”.

ויאמר ה' סלחתי כדברך'

After the sin of the Meraglim, Moshe pleads on behalf of Klal Yisrael and he recites some of the י"ג מידות הרחמים and the Pasuk says ויאמר ה' סלחתי כדברך. We mention this Pasuk throughout the days of Slichos and on Yom Kippur. It’s interesting to note that these words are used in describing Hashem forgiving Klal Yisrael for the חטא העגל, yet they appear here and were never said by the חטא העגל.

The דעת זקנים בעלי התוספות, the פירוש הרא"ש, and the רבינו בחיי both raise this question and they answer that the Pasuk of ויאמר ה' סלחתי כדברך is Hashem responding to Moshe saying that I forgave them at the חטא העגל like you requested but now I am not going to forgive them

But one could ask why was it that regarding the חטא העגל they were forgiven, yet by the Meraglim they weren’t? It would seem that the חטא העגל, assuming it was Avoda Zarah was far worse than the sin of the Meraglim?

It could be that sometimes, the large and grave sin doesn’t really sum up a person and because it was so beyond it could be interpreted as a fluke, but not that it really defines who he is. As opposed to the smaller sin, it can be more defining of who and what a person is all about. Like the Gemara in Ksubos 54a says regarding an אלמנה who does certain things causes her to lose her מזונות:

אמר רב חסדא: זינתה - אין לה מזונות. אמר רב יוסף: כיחלה ופירכסה - אין לה מזונות. מאן דאמר זינתה, כל שכן כיחלה ופירכסה; מאן דאמר כיחלה ופירכסה, אבל זינתה - אית לה, מאי טעמא? יצר אנסה.

The reason why כחלה ופירכסה, where she puts on makeup, could be worse than זנתה is because by זנתה, it was יצר אנסה but not that it is telling about the person’s character. However, by כחלה ופירכסה, it is more defining of who she is, and therefore she loses her מזונות.

Similarly, we say in Slichos וסלחת לעוננו כי רב הוא which is based on the Pasuk in Tehillim chapter 25:11, וסלחת לעוני כי רב הוא. Usually, the word כי means because and the simple explanation of the Pasuk is in spite of, as explained by the Meforshim in Tehillim. But based on the above, we can explain that we are pleading with Hashem that since you see that our sins are so big it can’t be that’s who we really are. Rather it must be just a fluke and a onetime mistake. Therefore the רב הוא is a reason why Hashem should forgive us just like he forgave us for the sin of the חטא העגל which was such a big sin.

Sense of Pride

When the Meraglim are giving over their report, they say ונהי בעינינו כחגבים וכן היינו בעיניהם. Rashi says שמענו אומרים זה לזה נמלים יש בכרמים כאנשים. Why did they describe themselves as grasshoppers in the eyes of the giants if they overheard them saying to each other describing them as ants? The רא"ם answers that it’s a טעות סופר and the Maharal in Gur Aryeh gives an explanation for the text as we have it.

Perhaps another explanation could be because as low as they felt they were, they still had some sense of pride. Therefore, even though they overheard the giants saying ants, they said to themselves we are at least the size of grasshoppers, which are larger than ants. (AJ Kaplan mentioned to the Rav to see the Chasam Sofer who says a similar idea.)

A מהלך that can succeed

After the sin of the Meraglim, the Torah describes the מעפילים who after the גזירה decided on their own to go up and fight Amalek and they were not granted permission and they were killed. Reb Tzadok in the צדקת הצדיק פרק מו, talking in a spiritual sense, says that the fact that the Pasuk says והוא לא תצלח (יד,מא) indicates that it is a מהלך that can succeed but at this time it won’t. But how could that be, because how could one go against the word of Hashem? It should not have said והוא לא תצלח because it’s completely not a מהלך that it would need to sayוהוא לא תצלח because it would seem that such a מהלך is irrelevant.

Reb Tzadok explains that you see even when the word of Hashem is one way, there is a בחינה of כל מה שיאמר לך בעל הבית עשה חוץ מ´צא. Meaning, that a person can be an עקשן and push his way in. So Moshe was telling them that at this moment in time, it’s not going to work. But since he said it as והוא לא תצלח, he was hinting to the fact that although this time it won’t work, there are other times that it will work, referring to the עקבתא דמשיחא. Reb Tzadok continues writing referring to his times, which was in 1848, that the Gemara in the end of Sotah describing the עקבתא דמשיחא, that חוצפא יסגא. Although we usually interpret that to be a bad thing, he writes that even those who are told to leave and are not allowed, will be allowed in with the כח of עקשנות. Since we know that things in the material and physical sphere are a reflection of the spiritual sphere, it could be that Reb Tzadok is hinting to the fact that in עקבתא דמשיחא, even people that are not ראוי will be able to fulfill the עלה נעלה וירשנו אותה.

מה אנוש כי תזכרנו

Regarding the נפילים that the Meraglim saw, Rashi says ענקים מבני שמחזאי ועזאל שנפלו מן השמים בימי דור אנוש. These were mythological beings who fell from heaven. In the Zohar, Parshas Breishis דף כה, it says that these angels who became human were the angels that said, at the time of the creation of man, מה אנוש כי תזכרנו as brought in the Gemara in Sanhedrin 31a.

The sefer Beis Yaakov, written by the Ishbitze, in the Maamarim on Yom Kippur writes that this קטרוג of מה אנוש כי תזכרנו became part of the human personality that every person has within himself. The question of who are you? You are unworthy and inadequate and should not have even been born.

Now it is understood that when the Meraglim were exposed to these giants, it’s no wonder they began to have such feelings of feeling like חגבים because these were the giants that made humans feel inadequate and unworthy.


Complaining Mindset

In the middle of last week’s פרשה, the Jews were getting ready to enter into ארץ ישראל. Moshe was trying to convince יתרו to join them, as he says נוסעים אנחנו אל המקום. The only thing the Jews were afraid of was external enemies, as the Pasuk says ויפצו איביך וינסו משנאך מפניך. But the real problem was internally, as the following Pasuk says ויהי העם כמתאוננים. The Pasuk doesn’t even state what they were complaining about, and its only Rashi who explains what they were complaining about. The idea is that it’s really irrelevant what a person is complaining about because it’s really a mindset. Even a complainer might not know what and why he’s complaining, and he needs מפרשים to explain exactly what’s bothering him.

Destined To Fail

Throughout קבלת שבת, we sing the end of each paragraph in a festive tune. But the first paragraph which ends with ארבעים שנה אקוט בדור וכו' is seemingly tragic as it describes the wandering for forty years and that they weren’t going to be allowed into EY so it seems a bit odd to sing it in such a festive tune.

After the חטא המרגלים, there were two ways which the Jews could respond; denial or despair. The following פסוקים after the חטא which describe their attempt to attack עמלק clearly showed that part of the Jews were in denial about what happened regarding the חטא המרגלים and therefore they thought they would be victorious. On the other hand there was the rest of them who were in despair.

Moshes response was with the idea of קרבנות because the Pasuk says כי תבאו and רש"י says that it was a בשורה that they would eventually (at least their children) enter ארץ ישראל. Moshe was expressing to them that although the situation was tragic, but he was encouraging them not to give up on their long term dream. It’s was a state in between denial and despair, that the vision is still there and we will eventually enter the land. But he didn’t address this feeling directly, rather by talking about הלכות that pertain to ארץ ישראל like קרבנות and חלה, he was keeping the long term dream alive.

However, forty years would be necessary to get them out of their despair so that they would be ready to enter the land. Even though Hashem could’ve given them the ability to get over their despair, nonetheless Hashem wants to work within the טבע of humans and therefore it would take forty years for the Jews to eventually be naturally ready to go in. The רמב"ם in מורה נבוכים (חלק ג פרק לב) expresses this idea regarding קרבנות. קרבנות were instated in order to combat עבודה זרה. Human nature is such that a person would not be able to abstain abruptly from the desire of עבודה זרה. Therefore, although Hashem could have given the Jews the ability to refrain from עבודה זרה, it would be unnatural and Hashem wants to work within the טבע of people. Therefore Hashem instituted קרבנות to slowly combat עבודה זרה which works within the טבע of people. The example he brings is that Hashem originally wanted to take the Jews out of Mitzrayim to Eretz Yisrael דרך ארץ פלשתים which was the straightest route. However, על פי טבע, the Jews weren’t ready and able as they had slave mentality (ע' אבן עזרא בשלח יד:יג). By journeying through the מדבר, they were able to learn גבורה and become a nation that was ready to enter ארץ ישראל. The idea is that the Jews needed to go through everything they did in the מדבר order that they would be ready על פי טבע, as opposed to Hashem unnaturally injecting into them the ability to be ready to enter ארץ ישראל.

What we see from the רמב"ם is that somehow, on a higher level, the Jews were set up for failure by Hashem. In today’s generation, there is an issue with children who are failure deprived. They are not given the opportunity to go through the trial and error experience to perfect themselves. Although Hashem could make us however he wants us to be, that’s not in his interest. Rather, his interest is that we are where we ought to be. The Jews, by sending the מרגלים and believing that the mission was impossible, demonstrated where they were at, what מדרגה they were on. Therefore, although it was a punishment, it was not a punishment in the classical sense of reaction to sin. In a way staying in the מדבר was also preplanned and was a reflection that they were not ready to enter EY, and a new generation of strength, courage, and אמונה would be able to enter ארץ ישראל. In retrospect, we realize that staying in the מדבר for forty years and the death of the דור המדבר was really part of the divine plan to make us who we ought to be. Therefore we are thankful for this, and that’s why we sing with a festive tune in Kabolas Shabbos ארבעים שנה אקוט בדור וכו' which is seemingly a tragedy, because that is all part of what made us what we are meant to be.

מקדים פה לעיו

ר' יוחנן in תענית כט ע"א says that the night כלל ישראל cried by the מרגלים was ליל ט' באב and Hashem said to them אתם בכיתם בכיה של חנם ואני קובע לכם בכיה לדורות. But one could ask that the מרגלים did as they were told as they were told to report back exactly what they saw and that’s what they did. Therefore, it would seem that there crying was not for nothing being that which they saw and reported was frightening.

It is well known that the entire חורבן בית המקדש was rooted and caused by the חטא המרגלים. The פסוקים in the first פרק of איכה are על סדר the אלף בית. But when it comes to the majority of the other פרקים, the פ comes before the ע. Regarding this occurrence, ר' יוחנן in סנהדרין דף קד. say’s בשביל מה הקדים פ"א לעי"ן בשביל מרגלים שאמרו בפיהם מה שלא ראו בעיניהם. This statement of ר' יוחנן fits with what he says in תענית, that since the חורבן was caused by the חטא המרגלים, so its befitting that איכה which describes the חורבן alludes to the חטא המרגלים.

However, this that the מרגלים were מקדים פה לעין is difficult to understand for did they see it or not? If they saw it, then why can’t they say what they saw? And if they didn’t see it, then the problem was not that there mouth came before their eyes, but rather that their eyes never saw it, and they nonetheless said. So, what exactly happened?

Similarly, the רמב"ן in פסוק כז is bothered that they were supposed to report back what they saw and they did. They reported כי עז העם הישב בארץ והערים בצרות גדלת מאד which was the truth. The רמב"ן explains that they sinned with the word אפס. With this one word, they were in truth saying that as good as the land was, it was beyond their reach. It would seem that which they were able to alter with the one word אפס is how they said that which they did not see.

But one could still ask that according to the רמב"ן, there explanation was based on what they saw and the statement of ר' יוחנן was really that they said without seeing at all so how is it that they said what they did without seeing at all?

רש"י in סנהדרין explains שהקדימו מאמר פיהם עד שלא ראו בעין. According to Rashi, ר' יוחנן was saying that they spoke before seeing and there commentary was given before even seeing. The idea is that whatever a person wants to see, he sees and whatever he wants to believe, he believes. Newspapers that are supposed to give over the facts are guilty of doing this. It’s called confirmation bias which is the tendency to interpret and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs. That which the מרגלים said was not caused by what they saw, but rather that which what they said because their minds were already made up was what allowed them to see what they saw. This idea is also expressed in פסוק which the מרגלים said ונהי בעינינו כחגבים וכן היינו בעיניהם. Even though they overheard the giants saying they see נמלים בכרם who look like people, still the מרגלים were מקדים with ונהי בעינינו כחגבים. The reality as they saw it was a direct cause of how they viewed themselves.

But the question is how did the מרגלים fall to such a level. רש"י in the beginning of the פרשה explains on the words כולם אנשים that they were all כשרים and the תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל says that they were חריפין. Therefore it begs the question, how did they fall to this point? Even the words of the מרגלים are perplexing as they are self-contradicting. On the one hand they said ארץ אוכלת יושביה and therefore even if they would be able to conquer it, it wouldn’t be worth it. But on the other hand they said כי עז העם הישב בארץ והערים בצרות גדלת מאד indicating that even if they wanted the land because of all its good, physically they wouldn’t be able to conquer it. Therefore, why did they bother saying its ארץ טובה if they couldn’t get in anyways? The answer to these question could be found in the פסוק in פרשת דברים:

ותרגנו באהליכם ותאמרו בשנאת יקוק אתנו הוציאנו מארץ מצרים לתת אתנו ביד האמרי להשמידנו (א,יז)

It’s clear from this Pasuk that the fall of the מרגלים was because of the feeling that Hashem hated them. A person who feels hated and unworthy who receives a present either thinks one of two things. Either that the present is actually bad, or that which the person is giving is only that it should be perceived as if he’s giving him something, but in the end he’s not going to give him anything. This explains how the מרגלים were self-contradicting to say that it was ארץ לא טובה and לא נוכל לעלות אל העם. But the question still remains how could the Jews even begin to believe that after all the miracles that Hashem did for them, that he could possibly hate them? Rashi on the Pasuk quoted above says:

והוא היה אוהב אתכם, אבל אתם שונאים אותו. משל הדיוט אומר, מה דבלבך על רחמך מה דבלביה עלך

The idea is when one can’t reciprocate a positive emotion, such as love, he feels uncomfortable by the mere thought that someone else loves him. Therefore, he must make up in his head that the feeling is not as such, so as not to feel guilty. The Jews didn’t love Hashem the way that He loved them back. This made the Jews feel uncomfortable. They didn’t feel worthy of His love and therefore couldn’t love Him back. The ספורנו on that פסוק says they thought Hashem hated them because על מה שעבדנו עבודה זרה במצרים.

This feeling generally stems from a lack of self-worth. The Jews didn’t feel adequate, therefore they didn’t let themselves believe that Hashem loved them. The מרגלים, the cause for the eventual חורבן, was all caused by a lack of self-worth which led to the thought that Hashem hated them.

In the Parshah, the Jews exclaimed(יד:ג) נשינו וטפנו יהיו לבז. The question is were they right or wrong with such a concern. Being what we know from above that as a consequence of the חטא המרגלים, we have the בכיה לדרות on the חורבן, they were right. Entering EY would eventually lead to dispersion and the people would be slaughtered so it would seem that they saw the truth. However, חז"ל are revealing to us that the truth that they saw is not because it was going to happen that they saw that it happened, but rather since they saw it, that’s why it happened. This is the same idea mentioned above of מקדים פה לעין that when a person makes up his mind, it’s a self-fulfilling nightmare. When a person is convinced that bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen and he’ll think that he was right. But, really he was wrong and had he not thought bad would happen to him, it really wouldn’t have.

In the ספר תולדות יעקב יוסף in פרשת וארא, he says in the name of his רבי the בעש"ט that the reason משיח has not yet come is because we aren’t מאריך in אהבה רבה. This fits well with the idea that the חורבן and גלות came because of the חטא המרגלים, which ultimately came because בשנאת ה' אותנו. Therefore to rectify that, we must be מאריך באהבה רבה which discusses the tremendous love Hashem has for us. Since the חטא was that they interpreted the positive as negative, therefore the תיקון for us in גלות is to interpret the negative as positive. Therefore, regardless of what we experience, we nonetheless say אהבה רבה אהבתנו and we believe that everything that happens to us is really good and an expression of love.

י from שרה

The following was said in the name of Reb Shimon Moshe Diskin in his sefer calledמשאת המלך in פרשת לך לך (The grandfather of the Rav’s son in law). The ילקוט שמעוני in the beginning of Yehoshua brings different opinions as to what happened with the י from שרי and how it went to יהושוע. It starts off by saying that the י taken from שרה, was split into 2 “hays”, one for אברהם, and one for שרה. So although the value of the י was taken care, the צורה of the י was still flying around and it complained that it was hanging in midair. Therefore, Hashem says to the י that you were at the end of a woman’s name, and now you will be at the beginning of a man’s name. But although the צורה of the י was given to יהושע, the numerical value of it was missing because it was already distributed to אברהם and שרה. Comes along the last statement in the ילקוט that says the י was given to Yehoshua so he should take the שכר of the עשר מרגלים. The numerical value that יהושוע was missing was the שכר כנגד עשרה מרגלים.

“bin nun” and not “ben nun”

In the back of the sefer דרך פקודיך written by the בני יששכר, there are a few chapters that he wrote on in נ"ך. There he brings, in the name of Reb Herschel Zidetchover, the reason that he is called “bin nun” and not “ben nun” is because they took 2 נקודות out of the three that were under the ב of בן and put it under the י of הושוע. Being that the נקודות under the י from שרי would not have sounded out the י of יהושע correctly, so two of the נקודות that were part of the סגול for בן were taken and put under the י leaving the ב in בן with just one נקודה making it “bin nun”. But the Rav asked that it can’t be because much earlier in the torah it says ויקרא משה להושע בן נון יהושע so you the see the “bin” was in the has been, because it has been before he got the י for יהושע. See the Ramban in Parshas כי תשא when Moshe refers to Yehoshua as a נער, there he explains why it says “bin”.

Menashe and Efraim

The Rav said the following from the sefer משאת המלך mentioned above. We see by the מרגלים that only שבט מנשה represented שבט יוסף, as the פסוק says למטה יוסף למטה מנשה גדי בן סוסי. And by אפרים it says למטה אפרים הושע בן נון. The question is if Menashe and Efraim are coming as separate שבטים, then Yosef shouldn’t be mentioned at all. And if Yosef is being mentioned because this individual was going to be the ultimate representative of שבט יוסף, so he should be mentioned with both Menashe and Efraim. But it sounds like Yehoshua only came as a representative for Efraim, while גדי בן סוסי wore two hats, one representing the שבט of Menashe and the other representing the שבט of Yosef. So what is the meaning behind this?

The Gemara in הוריות דף ו ע"ב says that מנשה and אפרים are like the other שבטים, specifically when it comes to נחלת הארץ but not when it comes to other הלכות such קרבנות השבט where they are considered one שבט.

When it came to the ריגול of ארץ ישראל, there were two aspects: one was the land itself if it was good or bad, and the other being the types of people and their cities to know if and how it could be conquered. The first aspect had relevance to the חלוקת הארץ and regarding that, Menashe and Efraim are two שבטים. However, regarding the second task regarding the type of people on the land, they were one שבט because it had nothing to do with the land. Therefore, for one part of the ריגול, we needed to send two מרגלים, and for the other part of the ריגול, only one needed to be sent as a representative for the general שבט יוסף. גדי בן סוסי carried two hats, one was for the aspect of the nature of the people, and for that he represented the entire שבט Yosef. But for the issue of the goodness of the land, they needed two מרגלים and therefore for that, גדי בן סוסי was the representative for Menashe and Yehoshua was for Efraim. But Yehoshua only carried one hat because he was only coming to check out the goodness of the land, and for that Efraim needed a representative.

This could explain why when it came to ויהס כלב, it was him alone who responded and יהושע was quiet. As opposed to later on, the פסוק says ויאמרו because it was כלב and יהושע together responding. When כלב alone responded, that was regarding if the Jews would be able to conquer the land because of the strong inhabitants and cities. For this aspect of the spying, Yehoshua was not a מרגל because only one was needed to represent the שבט of yosef. His mission was only to check out the nature of the land, and for that he responded טובה הארץ מאד מאד because for נחלת הארץ he was a מרגל.


Thursday Night Parsha Shiur 5782


Thursday Night Parsha Shiur 5781


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