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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.