פ’ שלח תשע”ז
Volume 19, Issue 5
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
איש אחד איש אחד למטה אבתיו תשלחו
“One man, one man of every tribe of their fathers you shall send…” (13:2)
By the 29th of Sivan, 2449, the Jewish people had reached the border of the Land of Israel. Some of the people asked Moshe to send spies to scout out the land. Moshe consulted with G-d, and G-d agreed to this plan. Moshe chose 12 men, one from each tribe, for this mission. These men were amongst the most distinguished leaders of the Jewish people. However, all but two of them – Calev and Moshe’s chief disciple Yehoshua – made the mistake of overstepping the limits of their mission.
Regarding the scouts that Moshe sent, the Torah records: “One man, one man, of every tribe of their fathers you shall send. From this we learn that each of the twelve tribes made sure to have a representative among the spies. No one trusted the other and did not want to rely on the credibility of others to fulfill this responsible mission. This proves how encompassing the discord of Bnei Yisrael was at that time. This being the case, the entire dubious complex mission of the scouts sent by Moshe failed.
Contrary to this, when Yehoshua sent the scouts to Yericho before capturing the land, he only chose two people. There was not a person among Bnei Yisrael who protested or resisted the decision of the leader of the people. This factor proves that at that time, there existed among the Jewish people an ambiance of love and unity. (Torah Gems)
ומה הארץ…היש בה עץ אם אין
“And how is the land…are there trees in it or not?” (13:20)
QUESTION: Rashi comments that Moshe instructed the spies to see if there were any righteous people there whose merit would protect the dwellers of the land. If Moshe was looking for righteous people, why didn’t he instruct the spies to search the houses of worship, rather than asking them to search the fields?
ANSWER: Moshe was incidentally conveying a message to Klal Yisrael concerning the intrinsic qualities of a truly righteous person. He is not one who goes into seclusion and locks himself up in the synagogue or Beit HaMidrash. A truly righteous person is compared to a tree; He is out among the people producing fruit (good deeds).
Similar to a tree which casts a protective shade on its surroundings, the righteous person should endeavor that his influence be felt throughout the entire city. (Iturei Torah)
ולא תתורו אחרי לבבכם ואחרי עיניכם
“Then you will not stray after your hearts and after your eyes…” (15:39)
The neginah, cantillation mark, on the words “velo taturu” is an azla geiresh. Literally translated, azla means “to go,” and geiresh means “to drive away.” This teaches us that when evil thoughts “come to you,” do not allow them to enter, but “drive them away.” (Rav Shimshon Rephael Hirsch from Meorah shel Torah)
Rav Eliyahu Meir Bloch tz”l would say: “Moshe gave the spies a sign: If the land’s inhabitants dwell in open cities, it means they are strong and rely on their strength for protection. If they live in walled cities, they are weak. Some Jews believe in withdrawing from society and having no dealings with the outside world. Others do the opposite, attempting to be positive influences on their surroundings. To outward appearances, the first group, in their fortress of Torah and mitzvot, appears to be stronger, but maybe this is not so. Perhaps such withdrawal is a sign that a person is unsure of his spiritual strength.”
A wise man would say: “A child should have every advantage – including those taught by disadvantage.”
A wise man would say: “We exist in this world through what we take, but we live forever through what we give.”
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