Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 13, v. 22: "Va'yovo ad Chevron" - And he came until Chevron - Rashi explains that Ko'leiv actually came to the burial site of our Patriarchs and prayed there. If so, why does the verse only mention that he came to the city?

2) Ch. 13, v. 23: "Va'yich'r'su mishom z'moroh va'yiso'uhu vamote bishnoyim" - And they cut from there a branch and they carried it with the stave by two people - Why the change from "z'moroh" to "mote?"

3) Ch. 13, v. 32: "Va'yotziu dibas ho'oretz" - And they expressed negative words about the land - Hadn't they already spoken negatively earlier in verses 28 and 29? Why didn't they say the words of our verse in one go? Also, why did they wait to voice their strongest concerns until now?

4) Ch. 14, v. 8: "Im chofeitz bonu Hashem" - If Hashem wants us - There are numerous words that can be used to express that Hashem favours us, "rotzeh, oheiv, itonu," etc. Why is the word "chofeitz" used here?

5) Ch. 14, v. 9: "Ki lachmeinu heim" - Because they are our bread - Why were the inhabitants of the land called "bread?"



A Kohein remarked to Rabbi Chaim of Tzanz that because he was a Kohein he was unable to visit and pray at the burial site of a certain righteous person. Rabbi Chain responded that to even be in the city where the righteous person lived and pray there was also very worthwhile. The Holy Zohar writes that the special sanctity of a righteous person extends to three "parsoh," approximately a distance of 17 kilometres, from his burial site. Perhaps this is why our verse says that he came "until Chevron." Our verse only says that he came until Chevron, to teach that even the proximity of this terra sancta is also sanctified.


Rashi says the obvious, that "z'moroh" is the branch upon which the grapes grow. The pole was a separate piece of wood. Rabbi Yitzchok of Vienna says that "z'moroh" is a branch, while "mote" is a carrying pole. They took a branch and trimmed it, making it suitable as a carrying pole.

The Holy Zohar notes that the Torah first calls the stave that was used to carry the cluster of grapes as "z'moroh," and then calls it "mote." He answers that "z'moroh" is a stave that is still a part of a tree, while "mote" is the same item after being cut off the tree. It seems that he is f the opinion that they carried the branch as is. He goes on to say that the two people who carried the cluster were none other than Yehoshua and Ko'leiv, as indicated by the word "shnoyim," the two UNITED people. No others had the strength to carry it (see gemara Sotoh 34a). He ends by saying that just as Yehoshua saw that this venture of sending spies was only fulfilled properly by two people, Ko'leiv and himself, so too, it would be sufficient to send only two spies shortly before they entered the land.


They thought that they said enough to dampen the spirits of the people and to dissuade them from attempting to vanquish the Promised Land. When they saw that Ko'leiv was not fazed and said that in spite of these seeming drawbacks they would still go ahead, "olo naa'leh," they saw that their previous words were insufficient to dissuade people, and they then went into high gear. (Rabbi Chaim of Tchernovitz in B'eir Mayim Chaim)


Commentators note the difference between "cheishek" and "chofeitz." The former is an uncalculated yearning and drive that is usually short-lived, while the latter is a calculated long-term emotion. We find this by the incident of Sh'chem and Dinoh. His father tells Yaakov and her brothers that Sh'chem "choshkoh nafsho b'vitchem" (Breishis 34:8). However, later the Torah says "ki chofeitz b'vas Yaakov" (verse 19). Note that now the verse mentions Dinoh as the daughter of Yaakov. Earlier his desire for her was driven by his lust. A bit later it was tempered with calculated appreciation of Dinoh, not as much with her as the object of his passion, but intrinsic worth, a well brought up daughter of Yaakov.

Similarly, in the parsha of "y'fas to'ar" we find, "v'choshakto voh" (Dvorim 21:11). The first emotion is emotional uncalculated love. After having her sit in his home for a month in a state of mourning, the Torah tells us that the likely outcome will be that "lo chofatzto boh" (verse 14), not only will you no longer have "cheishek," but you will even lose "cheifetz," rational calculated appreciation.

Similarly, our verse says that Hashem is on our side as long as "CHOFEITZ bonu Hashem." Hashem has to have a good reason to love us, namely we have to behave properly. (Nirreh li)


Just as our bread, the manna, comes to us in a miraculous manner, so too, we will be victorious even if it requires a miracle. (Haa'meik Dovor)

Just as our bread, the manna, melts when exposed to the warmth of the sun, "v'cham hashemesh v'no'meis" (Shmos 16:21,) so too they will melt in front of our eyes when "sor tzilom mei'a'lei'hem," when their shadow will be removed and the sun will cast its warmth upon them. (Rabbi Dov Malachi)



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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