Join Rabbi Haber's mailing list:
Home What's New Blogs Store Dedications Weekly Parshah About TorahLab Contact Us Links


The Systems of the Jewish Year


By Rabbi Sender Haber

The Jewish people could be pardoned for spying on the land of Israel. It was a regular military tactic and an example of good planning. Their problem was the way that they looked at the land. They forgot about Hashem’s promise and they forgot that the conquest was not completely in their hands. When Yehoshua and Kaleiv tried to remind them, they were stoned. Nobody wanted to look at things differently or to see things from another angle.

It is interesting that both Yehoshua and Kaleiv stayed strong in their opposition to the Meraglim but they stayed strong in different ways.

Yehoshua recieved a blessing from Moshe and a ‘yud’ added to his name. Kaleiv visited Chevron and prayed at the graves of our ancestors.

The Chofetz Chaim explains that there are two different approaches that a person can take when going against the flow. Some people argue and debate and make a lot of noise voicing their opposition. This is good because it keeps them strong, but bad because they and others can get hurt. Other people stay quiet and try to keep themselves strong. This is a lot safer, but it is very risky. Attitudes of those around us eventually rub off on us and penetrate deep into our souls.

Yehoshua belonged to the first group. From the beginning, he denounced the spies and their attitudes. He stayed strong, but Moshe was concerned for his physical well-being. He gave him a blessing that he would be saved from harm at the hands of the spies. According to the Chasam Sofer, the ‘yud’ itself connotes the self confidence and assertiveness that Yehoshua had in opposing the spies. The Aruch write that they knew that this was the result of a blessing and mocked him for it, calling him “Reish Ketiah”. Still, he held his ground and the spies were unable to affect him spiritually or physically.

Kaleiv took a different approach. He went along with the spies and did not say a word. When he finally got up to defend Moshe people stopped to listen. They thought that he was on their side.

Kaleiv realized early in the trip that he would need special help from G-d to stay strong. He went to Chevron and prayed to recharge and rejuvenate his soul. This worked as well.

The Chafetz Chaim writes that both approaches are legitimate. Some of us make a lot of noise and some of us are more subtle, but both Yehoshua and Kaleiv could not have done what they did without the blessing from Moshe and the prayers in Chevron. We can’t do anything without G-d.

The spies forgot that they had G-d and they died in the desert. Yehoshua and Kaleiv relied on G-d and they merited to usher the Jewish people into the land.

View and leave comments • (0 comments so far)