by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

Back to this week's Parsha | Previous Issues


PARSHAS SHLACH 5759 BS"D

Ch. 13, v. 2: "Shlach" - Rashi explains the juxtaposition of our parsha to the story of Miriam's speaking pejoratively of Moshe at the end of last week's parsha to indicate that the tribal heads should have learned a lesson from Miriam to not speak negatively, but took no heed. An obvious question is: Since Miriam spoke negatively of the greatest and holiest person, how were they to apply this to speaking about a parcel of land which is not a human and has no feelings? I heard from MVRHRH"G R' Shneur Kotler zt"l that the lesson is simply to seek out the positive. The issues of how great, how feeling, etc. deflect the thrust of the lesson.

Ch. 13, v. 2: "Shlach l'choh" - The Moshav Z'keinim notes that Rashi on the words "lech l'choh" (Breishis 12:1) says that "l'choh, for you, means for your benefit. Similarly, says the Moshav Z'keinim, Moshe would benefit from the sending of the spies, as he was to only be their leader while in the desert wilderness, and not in Eretz Yisroel. Through their sin the bnei Yisroel were destined to wander in the desert for a total of forty years, thus extending Moshe's life for this period of time.

Ch. 13, v. 2: "V'yosuru" - We find this episode is recounted in Dvorim 1:21 through 2:1. However, we find different expressions for spying there. In verse 22 it says "v'yach'p'ru" and in verse 24 it says "va'y'raglu." The Haksav V'hakaboloh and the Malbim explain that the bnei Yisroel requested to send scouts prior to their entry en masse since the inhabitants of the land surely heard of the intended plans of the bnei Yisroel to enter and conquest the land, and they would bury their treasures in the hope of later retrieving them. Hence the word "v'yach'p'ru" is used, indicating spying to find out were treasures are BURIED. The form "losur" is used when spying with an eye towards finding the good. (A proof for this seems to be Dvorim 1:33, "losur lochem mokome lachanos'chem." "L'ra'geil" is used when the spying is done with the intention of finding the negative (see Rashi on Vayikroh 19:16).
They were sent so that "v'yosuru" and they said that they would go "v'yach'p'ru," but they did "va'y'raglu," and were therefore punished.

Ch. 13, v. 2: "Ish echod ish Echod" - The gemara Yerushalmi Sotoh says that Rabbi Akiva derives from these words that two people were sent from each tribe, totaling 24. According to this opinion the derivation that a congregation is made up of ten people would be derived from somewhere else.
Some say that even according to Rabbi Akiva it can be derived from here, as only one person per tribe was specifically named. Another approach is that Rabbi Akiva does not literally mean two people from each tribe, but rather that for each tribe the soul of one of the bnei Yaakov accompanied the present-day leader of that tribe. More on this in 13:3.

Ch. 13, v. 3: "Anoshim" - Rashi says that the appellation "anoshim," men of stature, is appropriate as they were righteous at the time that they were sent. Literally the words of Rashi are to be read that they were righteous at that HOUR.

In 14:34 the verse says that the bnei Yisroel were punished by having to wander in the desert at the rate of a year for each day spent spying. There are 24 hours in a day and 12 months in a year. This gives us a half of a month per hour.

The bnei Yisroel entered Eretz Yisroel on the 10th of Nison, as per Yehoshua 4:19. As well, eleven days of their stay in the desert do not count in the punishment, as that amount of time was needed for traveling through the wilderness, as is stated in Dvorim 1:2, "Eleven days of travel are required to reach Kodesh Barnei'a from Horeb, traveling by the path of Har Sei'ir.
Reducing these two amounts, we find that the bnei Yisroel tarried in the desert for a total of 39 years and 11 months as a punishment for siding with the spies. If they were to be punished for a complete 40 days with a complete forty years, why was it reduced by a month? From this Rashi concludes that for an HOUR they were righteous, reducing the time by month. (Rabbi Isaac Chorif told this to his tutor at the age of eight years old.)

Ch. 13, v. 3: "Roshei bnei Yisroel heimoh" - The Ar"i z"l says that these words indicate that the souls of the original heads of the tribes, namely the sons of Yaakov, accompanied the tribal heads. In a prophetic manner, Yosef alluded to his brothers being involved as spies in our parsha. He therefore said, "m'raglim attem" (Breishis 42:9). They in turn responded, "lo HO'YU avo'decho m'raglim" (42:11). When relating their happenings in Egypt to their father, they said, "lo HO'YINU m'raglim" (42:31). Note that in both these verses they said that they WERE not spies, in the PAST tense. According to the above Ar"i z"l it is understood. They also prophetically responded that they were not spies in the past but will be in the future, when their spirits will be embodied in the tribal heads sent out to spy the land. (Shaar Bas Rabim)

Ch. 13, v. 11: "L'ma'tei Yosef l'ma'tei Menasheh" - Why is Yosef mentioned, and once mentioned why only by Menasheh and not by Efraim? Since the tribal heads were to speak negatively of the land the verse stresses that the representative of Menasheh, Gadi ben Susi, is the descendant of Yosef who spoke negatively of his brothers (Breishis 37:2). However, Hoshei'a ben Nun (Yehoshua), the representative for Efraim was not guilty of this, so Yosef was not mentioned by Efraim. (Rashi in Pardes Hagodol page 93)

Ch. 13, v. 16: "L'Hoshei'a ben Nun Yehoshua" - Although some commentators say that Hoshei'a's name was changed to Yehoshua earlier than just prior to the sending of the spies, from this point on we find the Torah always calling him Yehoshua. However, there is one exception. This is in Dvorim 32:44. An explanation mentioned in Sedrah Selections on parshas Haazinu follows:
Dvorim - Ch. 32, 44: "V'Hoshei'a bin Nun" - Why have we reverted back to Yehoshua's previous name? The Rebbi Reb Heshel of Cracow in his Sefer Chanukas HaTorah answers that the gemara Sanhedrin 107a says that when Sorai's was changed to Soroh, the letter Yud complained to Hashem that it was not in use. Hashem responded that not only would it be used, but previously it was at the end of a name and now it would be at the beginning of Hoshei'a's name which will be changed to Yehoshua. Sorai was eighty-nine years old when her name was changed to Soroh and she lived a total of 127 years, hence the Yud was inactive for 38 years. Hoshei'a's name was changed to Yehoshua by Moshe Rabbeinu at the time when the m'raglim, spies, were sent (B'midbar 13:16). This took place in the second year that the bnei Yisroel were in the desert. Now that we're in the end of the fortieth year in the desert, the Yud has been in use for thirty-eight years, so there is no further need to call him Yehoshua. A question can be raised on this: Why do we find the name Yehoshua later in Ch. 34, v. 9? Please let me know if you have an answer.

The gemara Sotoh 34b says that the name change alluded to Moshe's prayer, "May Hashem save you from the schemes of the spies." Targum Yonoson ben Uziel says that when Moshe realized that Hoshei'a was humble, he then prayed as above.

The Avodas Yisroel (Koznitzer Magid) says that a humble person is very reluctant to take on the position of leadership. Moshe feared that Yehoshua would agree with the spies so that the bnei Yisroel would not enter Eretz Yisroel and Moshe would stay on as their leader, rather than entering E.Y. without Moshe and having Yehoshua become the leader. The Avnei Neizer says that it is the nature of a humble person not to stand up against a majority.

The gemara Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 2:6 and M.R. Breishis beginning of 47:1 say that the Yud from Sorai's name was placed at the beginning of Hoshei'a's name and it was changed to Yehoshua. A most interesting question was brought in front of a Rabbi. This has been attributed to the Rebbi R' Heshel, or the L'vushei Srod, or Rabbi Akiva Eiger. A shul had no more seating available and its membership was growing. The community built an addition onto the eastern wall, pushing the Aron Kodesh, etc. forward. When the renovations were complete those who had seats on the prestigious eastern row felt that all who previously had seats were entitled to move forward, and the new spaces would be available at the back of the shul. Those who had spaces made available through the enlarging of the shul claimed that the old locations should remain as before, since physically, the new spaces were created at the east end of the shul.

The Rabbi responded with the above-mentioned gemara and medrash. True the letter Yud had a claim that it should be used in a name, but what right did it have to be placed at the front of a name? Now the formerly first letter would be second, etc. We see from here that we view the letters as not having lost their position, but rather, that a new space was created at the front.

By the way, there is an opinion in the M.R. mentioned earlier that the Yud of Sorai was split into two letters Hei, one for SoroH, and one for AvroHom.

Ch. 13, v. 23: "Eshkol anovim" -The Ar"i z"l writes that the bringing of "bikurim," the first ripened fruit to the Kohein in Jerusalem, atones for the sin of the spies. Rabbi Menachem Ziemba Hy"d says that this is alluded to in the Mishneh Bikurim 3:1. It says that when a person notices that his fruit has begun to ripen, he should place a band on the first ripened fruit and say, "These are Bikurim." Although this applies to seven types of produce, the Mishneh gives us only three examples, figs, a cluster of grapes, and pomegranate, exactly the three types of fruit which the spies brought back to use as a proof that the bnei Yisroel should not attempt to enter Eretz Yisroel.

Ch. 13, v. 23: "Anovim echod va'yiso'uhu vamote bishnoyim" - A novel insight:
When one is modest (onov with a Vov, phonetically the same as with a Veis) then the body and soul are echod, one. But if one becomes haughty, "vayiso'uhu", then he slips from this lofty level, "vamote", and the body and soul are not in unison, but rather as two entities, "bishnoyim." (Heard from the grandson of R' Binyomin Wilhelm z"l in the name of his grandfather)

Ch. 13, v. 33: "K'chagovim v'chein ho'yinu b'eineihem" - Rashi says that the spies reported that the inhabitants said that they noticed ANTS in the form of humans in their vineyards. Doesn't the verse say "k'chagovim," as locust?
R' Aharon of Karlin answers that just as the fruits were exceptionally large, so too the ants of Eretz Yisroel were as large as locust in other places.
The gemara Sotoh 35a says that for their attitude that they were so insignificant, the spies were also punished. The Kotzker Rebbi asks, "If they only reported what was said about them by the inhabitants of the land, why did they deserve punishment?" He answers that this teaches us that we should not concern ourselves with what others say if we are properly fulfilling our tasks.

Ch. 14, v. 22: "Va'y'nasu osi zeh esser p'omim" - The Ibn Ezra and the Rashbam say that "ten times" need not be taken literally. Rather it means many times. This is most surprising since the Mishneh in Pirkei Ovos 5:4 says that the bnei Yisroel tested Hashem 10 times. The gemara Arochin 15a somewhat enumerates the ten occasions. Any help would be appreciated.

Ch. 14, v. 39: "Va'y'da'beir Moshe ...... va'yisablu ho'om m'ode" - It seems that the nation truly repented. Why then did Hashem not accept their repentance and allow them to live and enter Eretz Yisroel? The Holy Baal Shem Tov answers that we see from the next verse that they did not truly repent.
It says," asher OMAR Hashem ki chotonu," indicating that they did not feel that they sinned, only that Hashem SAID that we sinned. The Ntzi"v in Haa'mek Dovor answers that although they repented, it was not a complete teshuvoh since they did not repent under the same circumstances. They saw the miraculous swift retribution meted out to the spies who died a horrible death. This is not a "teshuvas hamishkol."

Ch. 15, v. 4-10: In these verses we find the volumes of flour and wine libation offerings required to accompany a lamb, ram, or bovine (calf or ox) sacrifice. The flour offerings are well known from our Musof prayers of Yom Tov, a tenth of an "eifoh" of flour for a lamb, two tenths for a ram, and three tenths for a bovine. The wine offerings are a quarter of a "hin" for a lamb, a third for a ram, and a half for a bovine sacrifice. Why in our Musof prayers do we say "v'yayin k'nisko," and wine as is appropriate for its libation? Why not follow the format of the flour offerings and enumerate each animal's fitting volume of wine? Rabbi Ovadioh of Bartenuroh answers that since there is an exception in the amount of flour brought to accompany the lamb of the Omer sacrifice, TWO tenths of an "eifoh" rather than the normal one tenth, we therefore enumerate the amounts accompanying the Yom Tov sacrifices. The volume of wine for libation for each type of animal never changes. Therefore there is no need to enumerate, and it suffices to say "v'yayin k'nisko."

Ch. 15, v. 37-41: The Daas Z'keinim and the Rosh both bring a medrash which asks why the parsha of tzitzis is placed immediately after the parsha of Tzelofchod. The medrash relates that Moshe said to Hashem, "You have given the bnei Yisroel a mitzvoh of wearing tefillin. It serves as a reminder to fulfill all of the Torah's mitzvos, as is written, "l'maan ti'h'yeh Toras Hashem b'fichoh" (Shmos 13:9). However, You have forbidden wearing tefillin on Shabbos (gemara M'nochos 36b). Had Tzelofchod been allowed to wear tefillin on Shabbos he would have remembered to not desecrate it." Hashem responded that He would now give a new mitzvoh of wearing tzitzis which would be a constant reminder to fulfill all the Torah's mitzvos, as is written, "u'r'i'sem oso u'z'chartem es kol mitzvos Hashem" (15:39). This mitzvoh would apply to Shabbos as well.

The Sfas Emes asks why Shabbos alone is not a sufficient reminder to do all of Hashem's mitzvos. It is called a sign, just as tefillin are. He answers that a reminder created by action, namely putting on tefillin, is more potent than a mitzvoh which comes with refraining from action, as guarding the Shabbos. This point is elaborated on by Chinuch in the prohibition of breaking a bone of the Korban Pesach, mitzvoh #16.
I have some difficulty with the above-mentioned medrash. How is it possible to say that the Shabbos transgressor forgot the mitzvoh of Shabbos? He was warned to not transgress and even told that it carried the death penalty. He also had to respond that he accepts the consequences. These are a prerequisite to carrying out the death penalty in a court. A possible solution might be found by way of the gemara Sanhedrin 80b. Rabbi Yehudoh requires that the warning include the specific type of death to be meted out.
The Torah states that the bnei Yisroel did not know which type of death was to be incurred for the desecration of Shabbos as explained in the Sifri 15:57. How did they properly warn Tzelofchod? Rabbi Yehudoh answers that the ruling which Moshe received from Hashem was an "horo'as sho'oh," a special ruling for that one time to give the death penalty even without the proper warning. Possibly according to the above-mentioned medrash, there was no warning at all, and even this was included in the "chiddush" of the "horo'as sho'oh." Any more information on this would be greatly appreciated.

Answers to last week's questions:

Besides surrounding the parsha of "Va'y'hi binso'a" where else in Tanach do we find reversed Nuns? There are 7 reversed Nuns in T'hilim #107.

Where do we find "t'chias ha'meisim," revival of the dead, in Tanach by fish?
It was mentioned in 11:5 that Rabbeinu Bachyei translates DOG as live fish and DOGOH as dead fish. In Yonah 2:2 it says that Yonah was swallowed by a DOG. In the next verse it says that he prayed to Hashem from the belly of a DOGOH. In verse 11 it says that Hashem made the DOG spit out Yonah. The Kad Ha'kemach (written by Rabbeinu Bachyei) says that there was "t'chias ha'meisim" on the DOGOH, so that Yonah would not suffer as much while being inside a live fish. It is interesting to note that this is contrary to his own writings in his commentary on Tanach. He says that Yonah was expelled from the dead fish and swallowed by another fish.

Where are the three places mentioned in Medrash Tanchuma at the beginning of parshas Bo that Hashem conclusively spoke directly to Aharon?
In Shmos 4:27 - Hashem told Aharon to enter the desert and meet Moshe.
In Bmidbar 12:4 - Hashem said, "Tzu shlosh't'chem," as was mentioned last week.
In Bmidbar 12:5,6 - "Vayikroh Aharon u'Miriam va'yeitzu shneihem, Va'yomer ......"
This is the opinion of the GR"A. Others bring different verses, but the choices of the GR"A are surely indisputable.

FEEL FREE TO DISTRIBUTE BY COPY OR ELECTRONICALLY. FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED. TO SUBSCRIBE, SEND REQUEST TO: SHOLOM@AOL.COM A GUTTEN SHABBOS KODESH.


Back to this week's Parsha | Previous Issues


This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper,

provided that this notice is included intact.

info@shemayisrael.co.il

http://www.shemayisrael.co.il

Jerusalem, Israel

972-2-641-8801