Chasidic Insights

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 13, v. 28: "E'fes" - Until now the spies only spoke positively of the land. This one word "e'fes," BUT, was the beginning of their criticism and their downfall. Rashi in the previous verse, d.h. "zovas" writes that for their false words to be accepted they started off with words of truth. Had they stayed on the path of truth they would not have met with such a bitter end. "Emes," if one only goes with truth, then "malkeinu," He is our King and will treat us kindly. "E'fes," if we say BUT, then "zuloso," we have lost our faith in Him and pursue others besides Him. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 13, v. 30: "Va'yahas Ko'leiv es ho'om" - See the devastating power of falsehood! The previous words were spoken by the spies. They spoke falsely and negatively of Eretz Yisroel. This so polluted the spiritual atmosphere that when Ko'leiv began his words of rebuttal he started off with words that, although not outright lies, were nevertheless misleading, seeming to indicate that he too was about to speak of Moshe with disdain. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 14, v. 1: "Va'yitnu es kolom va'yivku" - Had the nation truly felt alarmed to the point that it would have naturally brought on crying, their punishment would not have been so severe. However, they were not devastated and they over reacted, putting in a conscious effort to bring on tears. For this they were dealt with so sternly. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 14, v. 7: "Ho'oretz asher ovarnu voh losur osoh tovoh ho'oretz m'ode m'ode" - Only when we feel our existence on earth is not permanent, only passing by and grabbing a look, finding opportunities to do mitzvos, albeit in a physical world, then and only then, is the earth exceedingly good. (Rabbi Chaim Meir of Vizhnitz in Likutei Imrei Chaim)

Ch. 14, v. 37: "Va'yomusu ho'anoshim .. bama'geifoh" - Rashi says that they died a most hideous death. Their tongues grew long and extended to their navels. Worms appeared on their tongues and crept down them into their navels. Rashi only explains the punishment in kind of their tongues, because they spoke negatively. The aspect of their navels can be explained as follows: Just as a fetus does not concern itself with how to feed itself, but rather, totally relies upon its mother who feeds it through an umbilical cord through its navel, so too the spies should have totally relied upon Hashem to sustain them in their conquest of Eretz Yisroel. (The Holy Admor Rabbi Meir Yechiel haLevi of Ostrovtza in Ohr haTorah)

Ch. 15, v. 19: "Baacholchem mi'lechem ho'oretz torimu srumoh laShem" - Until now the bnei Yisroel ate manna, a very spiritual food. Upon entering Eretz Yisroel they would be eating very physical bread, grown on the ground. To avoid becoming physically coarse the Torah exhorts us to elevate our eating. (Rebbe Reb Zisha in Avodas Yisroel of the Kozhnitzer Magid)

Ch. 15, v. 20: "Reishis arisoseichem chaloh" - The first thing when getting up from bed is to fear Hashem, "chaloh" as in "chil ur'odoh." (Rabbi Mendel of Riminov)

Ch. 15, v. 40: "K'doshim lEilokeichem" - One can act in a seemingly holy way. This in and of itself is not sufficient. The Torah says that even when acting holy we should direct this towards Hashem. (Imrei Emes)


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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