Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parshas Shelach


"VaYikra Moshe L'Hoshea Bin Nun Yehoshua"

"And Moshe called Hoshea the son of Nun "Yehoshua" (Joshua)"

Moshe (Moses) changed Hosheah’s name to Yehoshua (Joshuah).

In Hebrew, Hosheah suggests salvation. The name Yehoshua suggests a prayer, that G-d should save him from the evil plans of the spies. Why did Moshe pray for only Yehoshua sake and not for the other spies?

Targum Yonason, a translation of the Torah, states that Moshe made the name change when he realized the degree of Yehoshua’s humility.

Moshe feared that Yehoshua’s humility would make him susceptible of being influenced by the spies. Thus, Moshe did not give Yehoshua an advantage over the other spies. Rather, he provided a way to help him deal with a potential source of weakness.

(Ezras Yehudah)

Misapplied Ideal

The Jews sent some of their greatest people on the mission to spy out the Land of Canaan. Upon their return, the spies sought to dissuade the Jewish people from entering the Promised Land.

Why did they do this?

Jewish life in the desert was essentially a physical and spiritual utopia. All their physical needs were miraculously provided for and they were able to focus their energies on spiritual pursuits.

The spies were initially very righteous people and they enjoyed the opportunity to concentrate on spirituality. They did not want to enter the Land of Canaan where they would have to concern themselves with their material needs as well.

This was a fatal error.

Although their reckoning appears to be quite admirable, G-d had decreed otherwise. G-d wanted the Jews to apply the lessons they learned in the desert to establish a civilization in the Promised Land that is based on spirituality.

(R' Yosef Leib Mendik-P'Ninim Mishulchan Govoha)

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Jerusalem, Israel