Parshat Sh’lach raises many questions. For example, why did Moshe send twelve leaders of the people to spy out the Land? And if this was a military operation to assess the strength of the Canaanite enemy, why not better send military experts? Why not send a smaller contingent, as did Yehoshua, and thus minimize the risk of discovery and failure of the mission?
Rabbi Uriel Milevsky reminds us that from the account in Sefer D’varim, Moshe initially responded positively to a request of the people to assess the land. It was a psychological ploy that would communicate the message that the mission was unnecessary, just as a car salesman’s agreeing to let a purchaser run any test he wants on a vehicle imparts an overall sense of the lack of need to prove the car’s road- worthiness.
For Rabbi Milevsky, however, the leaders of the people had lost their trust in Hashem’s miracles and were weary of them: they lusted for a military confrontation. Moshe thus sent the leaders to Eretz Yisrael in the hope that just as a groom is (halachically) ready to marry his bride after he has seen her, so would each of these influential leaders return from Eretz Yisrael with a spark of love. And in that merit they would also now warrant Hashem’s miraculous intervention in the upcoming Conquest.
Unfortunately, Moshe did not succeed then - but if only all our leaders today would be deserving of that merit!
Shabbat Shalom, Menachem Persoff
In This Issue of Torah Tidbits
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- Divrei Menachem
- "From Machon Puah"
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