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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 13, v. 20: "Ha'yeish boh eitz" - Is there in her a tree - Rashi explains that "a tree" means a righteous person whose merits would protect them. On the words in 14:9, "Sor tzilom mei'a'leihem," their shadow is removed from upon them, Rashi similarly explains that they do not have the merit of a righteous person because he was removed, and this was the righteous Iyov. The "eitz" of our verse is the same as "tzilom" of 14:9. They both have the same numerical value of 160. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 13, v. 26: "Va'yeilchu va'yovo'u el Moshe" - And they went and they came to Moshe - Why doesn't the verse just say, "va'yovo'u el Moshe?" The verse wants to stress that they left Eretz Yisroel to never return. Because of the ensuing negative report and riling up the masses they would not merit to enter the promised land again. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 13, v. 32: "Anshei midos" - "People of measure" - This means either:

1) Their behaviour is measured. They do not behave in a way that would likely shorten their lives (and yet they still have a great death rate). (Rabbi Shlomo Ashtruk)

2) They are so colossal that the first thing that comes to mind upon seeing them is to think about their dimensions. (Rabbeinu Myuchos)

3) They eat in a measured manner (and yet they are so large). (Daas Z'keinim)

4) They are people who do a lot of commece with items that require measurements and weights (indicating that they are wise). (Mo'ore Ho'a'feiloh)

Ch. 13, v. 33: "Hanfilim" - The giants - Rshi comments that they were the descendants of Shamchazoi and Azo'el who fell from the heavens and landed on earth in the days of Enosh. If so, how were there any descendants? They were wiped out to a man during the great deluge. We must say that they were the descendants of Og, a "mabul" survivor, about whom it says, "V'hu nishar mi'yesser horfo'im."

Ch. 13, v. 33: "Bnei anok min hanfilim" - Children of giants from the fallen ones - Sforno explains that the giants were descendants of Anok from their patriarchal side and descendants of "n'filim" from their matriarchal side. Rashi and Targum Yonoson ben Uziel say that "anok" means giants and "n'filim" pinpoints their lineage, giants who fell from heaven in the days of Enosh.

Ch. 13, v. 33: "Kachagovim" - Like grasshoppers - Rashi comments that the spies related that they heard the local inhabitants, upon seeing them, say that there were ANTS in their vineyards in the form of humans. ANTS is most puzzling. The verse says grasshoppers. Rabbi Chaim Paltiel deals with this in a manner of projected view, the view of one looking from above and the view of one looking from below. Thus the spies said that in their own eyes they felt the ratio of size between themselves and the inhabitants was that of a normal height human and a grasshopper, while from one looking from above it was like ants, as per the response of the inhabitants. "V'chein hoyinu b'eineihem" is to be understood as, "And similarly we were the size of grasshopper in their eyes had they looked from our vantage point, as they said that we were the size of ants from their top to bottom view.

This and other answers are somewhat strained and Rabbi Yochonon Luria in Meishiv Nefesh says that we must say that the correct text in Rashi is also that the inhabitants said that we were the size of grasshoppers. He substantiates this from the gemara Sotoh 35a, which says clearly that the inhabitants said that the creatures in their vineyards were the size of grasshoppers.

Ch. 14, v. 1: "Kol ho'eidoh" - The whole congregation - This comes to include even those who were totally righteous until now and had absolute trust in Moshe. (Rabbeinu Tovioh)

Ch. 14, v. 20: "Solachti kidvo'recho" - I have forgiven as you have spoken - The level of forgiveness is commensurate with the earnestness of what you have spoken when you confessed your sin. (Rabbi Chaim of Kosov)

Ch. 14, v. 23: "Im yiru es ho'oretz" - If they will see the land - This is most puzzling. Those who accepted the negative report of the promised land admitted that they behaved improperly. Hashem, in response said "solachti," so why didn't they merit to enter the land?

The Dubner Magid explains with a parable. A wealthy man was offered two suitors for his daughter. One was the son of another wealthy man, but both the young man and his father were ill-tempered, ignorant, and haughty. The other was the son of a communal Rabbi, a Torah scholar, an exceptionally well-behaved young man. The girl's father was advised by the matchmaker that if he were to pursue the wealthy shidduch, half the expenses would be paid by the other side, while with the Rabbi's son, he would have to incur all expenses.

The response to the matchmaker was that he would pursue the Rabbi's son, but with this stipulation: That the Rabbi would at least bring his son to the chupoh with a new suit, and offer the bride just one item of jewellery, and if this would not be forthcoming, he would pursue a shidduch offered him with the well-known wealthy person's son. The Rabbi responded that he was not ready to do even this. This was conveyed to the girl's father, who responded that he did not agree, and all talk of their children marrying was off.

The shadchan came back to the girl's father and told him that he made a grave mistake. How could he envision his daughter being married to a boor, and an ill-tempered one to boot. He was convinced and asked the matchmaker to go back to the Rabbi and tell him that he was ready to pursue the shidduch, with the Rabbi having absolutely no financial responsibilities. The Rabbi took the shadchan by surprise and said he was no longer interested in the shidduch. Even though he was originally interested providing that he would have no financial responsibilities, it was only because he felt that the girl's father truly appreciated a son-in-law who was a Torah scholar. Upon hearing that he considered pursuing a boor for a son-in-law and just because of one suit and a trinket, it exposed his true unappreciative attitude toward Torah scholarship.

Similarly here, even though they were forgiven their sin and also said that they wanted to enter the land, their acceptance of such a negative report of the land showed that they did not hold it in great esteem as the promised land of Hashem. Their present interest in entering the land is one of simply having a homeland, and to stop wandering in the desert. Such people do not deserve entering Eretz Yisroel.

Ch. 14, v. 30: "Ki im Koleiv ben Y'fu'neh vI'hoshua bin Nun" - Except Koleiv the son of Y'fu'neh and Yehoshua the son of Nun - In verse 38 we find these two names switched around. The Tur explains that here, Hashem is speaking and He first mentioned Koleiv because he was the first to speak out against the machinations of the spies, "Va'yahas Koleiv es ho'om." Moshe mentioned Yehoshua first because of Yehoshua's superiority over Koleiv in wisdom.

Ch. 14, v. 32: "Ufigreichem a'tem" - And your corpses you - This means that they were told that they would die in perfect health. "Just as you are now hale and hardy, so will you be when you become corpses." (Baal Haturim)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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