Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 13, v. 11: "L'ma'tei Yoseif l'ma'tei Menasheh" - Here we find not only Menasheh mentioned but also his father Yoseif. However, in verse 8 where the representative of the tribe of Efrayim is mentioned there is no mention of Yoseif. Rashi in Sefer Hapardes page 93 and others say that here it is pointed out that Gadi ben Susi of the tribe of Menasheh is a descendant of Yoseif to indicate that Yoseif spoke negatively of his brothers (Breishis 37:2) and his descendant Gadi unfortunately did likewise. The representative of the tribe of Efrayim, Hoshei'a bin Nun, spoke positively of the land, hence Yoseif is not mentioned.

The MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that Yoseif is mentioned only by the tribe of Menasheh since in the future, half the tribe would settle in Trans-Jordan (Bmidbar 32:33). We might think that a representative of the tribe was one who had no strong feelings for residing in Eretz Yisroel. The verse therefore stresses that the spy who was sent was a descendant of Yoseif, who was very strongly connected to Eretz Yisroel. Even when he was in Egypt for a number of years he proudly stated, "Ki gunove gunavti mei'ertz ho'Ivrim" (Breishis 40:15), that he was from Eretz Yisroel. Thus the verse indicates that the person sent would hopefully bring back a report that would encourage the bnei Yisroel to conquer and inhabit eretz Yisroel. In spite of this, we later see that this was of no avail.

If one were to ask that the tribes of Reuvane and Gad had all their people settle in Trans-Jordan and there still were representatives sent from those tribes, it seems that there was no choice but to send one person from each tribe. Alternatively, it is suggested by Rabbi Y' Bernstein z"tl that there is no indication that the bnei Reuvane and bnei Gad were anti-Eretz Yisroel. They had a large amount of cattle and were very impressed by the grazing capacity of Trans-Jordan. They gave more importance to this than to residing in Eretz Yisroel. However, the half of Menasheh that resided in Trans-Jordan did not have this consideration and it seems that they were not terribly interested in living in Eretz Yisroel.

It seems that this explanation is not in consonance with the M.R. Breishis 84:19 mentioned by the Chizkuni (Breishis 32:32), who says that the reason half of the bnei Menasheh were given land in Trans-Jordan was not at their request, but rather as a punishment for their ancestor Menasheh causing the brothers to rent their garments in two when Yoseif's goblet was found in Binyomin's satchel.

Ch. 13, v. 30: "Va'yahas Ko'leiv es ho'om el Moshe va'yomer olo naa'leh" - MESHECH CHOCHMOH explains that the bnei Yisroel heard the prophecy of Eldod and Meidod (Bmidbar 11:28) that Moshe will die in the desert and Yehoshua will bring them into Eretz Yisroel (gemara Sanhedrin 17a). As well, Moshe did not protest or punish them, thus they felt it was conclusive that the prophecy was accurate. Given this background, they greatly feared entering Eretz Yisroel without Moshe's protective merits, especially that they had to conquer Amo'leik (verse 29) with whom they had a previous encounter (Shmos 17:8-16), and with the giants (verse 33). Ko'leiv silenced them, saying that Moshe's greatness came through the merit of the bnei Yisroel (see Rashi Shmos 32:7 d.h. "Leich reid"). He added that Moshe's prophecy only came when the bnei Yisroel were close to Hashem, but when they were excommunicated after the sin of the golden calf Hashem did not speak with Moshe until after the generation of those who sinned died (Dvorim 2:16,17 as explained in the gemara Taanis 30b). The gemara Yerushalmi Taanis 3:4 says that this lasted for a period of 38 years! Thus Ko'leiv silenced the people "el Moshe," - regarding their attitude about Moshe, that without him they would be doomed to die at the hands of the nations occupying Eretz Yisroel. Ko'leiv said "oloh naa'leh," - we will successfully enter the land and conquer its inhabitants on our own merits. Hashem is always with us, even after the loss of our greatest leader of all generations. This was the intention of Yehoshua when he said, "B'zose teidun ki KEIL CHAI b'kir'b'chem v'horeish yorish" (Yehoshua 3:10). He stressed that even without Moshe alive, Hashem is constantly with us, hence the term KEIL CHAI, indicative of Hashem's permanent presence.


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