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Parashat Shlach Lekha (English)



Rav David Lhungdim

These are the names of the men Moses sent to scout the Land, and Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Yehoshua.

Rashi explains ‘That he prayed on his behalf, “May God save you from the counsel of the spies.” [The name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ is a compounded form of יָהּ יוֹשִׁיעֲךָ, May God save you.]- [Sotah 34b], and the Targum Yonathan Explain that since Moshe Rabbeinu saw the trait of Humility in Yehoshua ben Nun He added “Yud” and call him Yehoshua.

Some say that when G-d told Moses to write in the Torah that “now the man Moshe was extremely humble”, Moshe Rabbeinu was reluctant to write praise about himself since G-d instructed him to write, Moses wrote the word humility (ענוAnav) without the letter “Yud”, since it is forbidden to delete even one letter of the Torah, Moshe added letter “Yud” that was missing from the word "Anav" (humility) and gave it to Joshua because he saw in Yehoshua's the traits of humility.

And another reason, since Joshua is going to receive the extra years of life from the spies, there is a fear that the years he will receive from controversial people might affect him for bad things, so Moses prayed for him "G-d will save you from the advice of spies" (Umatokh Ha ohrpr’ Shelakh Lekha).

In order to understand this, we need to look at the sin of the spies, after all, our Sages said that each one of them was great in the Torah, if so what caused them to commit this grave sin? It is important to know that every man of Israel must believe, that there is “no wisdom and understanding before G-d”, the intention of the spies was for the benefit of Moses and also for the honor of the Torah, as indicated in the writing of Khazal, and there are many points and explanations about the iniquity of the sin of spies, but here I will bring three main reasons:

(a) According to Rashi since Eldad and Midad prophesied that Moses will die and Joshua will bring the people into the Holy Land (Rashi), thus the spies thought that, if they were to enter the Land of Israel immediately, then the nation would not be able to learn from Moses, and therefore their intention was it is good and better to be in the desert of wilderness and learn Torah from Moses Rabbeinu.

(b) The people ate Mann in the desert and were privileged to be under the clouds of glory and drink from the well of Miriam, but after the nation will enter the land, they had to work and labor, and it will diminish their Torah study and therefore the spies consider that it was good and better to stay in the desert and be totally immersed in Torah, without pursuing of the mundane world. (Likutei Torah)

(c) The “Metzudat David” wrote in the name of “Knesset Yekhezkiel". That the spies slander the Land of Israel, because in the desert they were Nesiim, head of their tribes, but in the Land of Israel there would be no more Nesiim, since a king should be elected, this means, they want to safeguard their honors and pride.

Thus we see that the spies also have good intentions, if so why did they meet punishment, as our Sages said; they have no share in the world to come (Sanhedrin 10:3). And the conciliatory answer is that there is no wisdom and understanding before G-d, therefore it is necessary to observe what G-d commands us to do, but not according to our intellect and understanding, this is the foundation of "we will do and we will hear" if G-d said the land is a good land you must believe with perfect faith.

Therefore, if G-d said Moses will die and Joshua brings in, no one has the right to argue and play with what comes from the mouth of the Creator of the universe, and this is the great mistake of the spies who play with the Creator's words, so as to preserve their own honors and dignity.

After all notwithstanding their righteousness and good intention, the spies made a grave sin as we found in Sanhedrin (108a and 119b) which state plainly that the spies do not have a portion in the world to come, however, it is unclear if Rabbi Eleazar who argues with Rabbi Akiva is also arguing about the spies or if he is arguing only about the generation of the wilderness that has a share in the world to come while the spied do not. Thus we have a rule whenever there is an unsettle dispute in the revealed Torah we turn to the esoteric part of the Torah to solve the problem.

Thus according to Torah ha-nistar, the spies even though they sinned greatly, they too have a share in the world to come (Zohar Khadash 14, Tankhuma Khukat 10, Bereshit Rabbah 19/13, Zohar3/276 see also Magalea mukot Shelakh 14), so too Korach have a share in the world to come, they deduce it from the verse“צדיקכתמר יפרח"The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree”, which has the last letter Korach. (Ariz”l, Emek Hamelek Gates 15, Ch 35). In order to understand we need to see Gemara Khagiga (4b-5a) below.

Gemara (Khagiga 4b-5a) The angel of death was common in the home of Rabbi Bibi bar Abaye and tells him how he took the souls of people. Once the angel of death said to his messengers: Go bring me the soul of Miriam, the hairdresser, He went and brought him Miriam, a child’s nurse. The angel of death said to his messenger “I told you to bring Miriam the hairdresser!” whereupon the messenger told, “Then I will return her soul.” The angel of death said, “Since you have brought her, let her stay. Rav Bibi bar Abaye asks the angel, how were you able to take her [before her time] “Do you have permission to do that? Since she is taken before her allotted years what did you do with the missing years, the angel replied “I took charge of them until their years are completed, and then I hand them over to Dumah (angel in charge of the souls)!”And “If there is a young rabbinic scholar who overcomes his midoth, I give them the missing years as a gift”. (Chagigah 4b-5a)

And one must ask, why the angel gave those missing years to Talmid Khakham only. The answer is because those souls taken before their time can justify themselves that if they were to live completely the years allotted for them, they might have repented, to compensate them, the angel of death look for fine young Torah scholars who overcome his midoth, and give those missing years to them, thus those who died before their time will also have a share and receive their reward from the merit of Torah study and Mitzvoth by Talmidei Khakhamim, since those missing years belong to them. (Yikhai Reuben, Yalkut Yeshayahu).

We have seen above why Moses added the letter “Yud” in the name of Joshua, since Joshua was going to receive the missing years of the spies, there was a fear that the years he will receive from controversial people may affect him for bad things, and therefore Moses prayed for him "G-d will save you from the advice of spies".

I think according to this it is understandable why according to Torah Nistar, even though the sins and iniquities of the spies are great, they will have a share in the world to come, because Joshua received their extra years, and accordingly it seems that this is the reason why Moses added letter “yud” (numerical no 10)in Yehoshua name, which hints to ten spies who fail in their mission, and now it is understood from the above interpretation which we mention, why Moses added the letter “Yud” that is missing from the word "Anava" (humility)and gave to Joshua, the reason is he was worthy of receiving the remaining years of the spies because of his humility, thus the spy too will have a share and receive their reward in the merit of Yehoshua Torah and Mitzvoth because those extra years belongs to them. Thus according to my opinion, we can assume that there is also a source from “ Torat Ha –nigleh (revealed Torah) that the spies have a share in the world to come as seen in Gemara Khagiga above. Parashat Shlach Lecha Rakhem Haokip

“The first portion of your dough, you shall separate a loaf for a gift; as in the case of the gift of the threshing floor, so shall you separate it.”

Bamidbar 15:20


This week we will write, G-d willing, from one of the great sefardic sages, Chacham Avraham Fatal ZT”L who was not only a very big Kabbalist(A sage that specializes in the esoteric teachings of the Torah) but also the father-in-law of the great Rishon LeTzion Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef ZT”L.


Chazal in Avoda Zara 19a teaches that the verse in Tehillim(112:1) that says, “Fortunate is the man that fears Hashem”. Says Chazal, Fortunate is he who fears Hashem when he is a Man and not after he have grown old and had weakened from doing sins. Such a person, the verse applauds him calling him fortunate.


And hence, “The first portion of your dough” which is when you're young at the beginning of your days bring yourself closer to Hashem. (Vayomer Avraham page 49)


In order to bring about a boost in our service of Hashem, HaRav Avichai Pakhima Shlit”a, Rosh Kollel Khamudot Daniel, brings a story which everyone knows but not in a way as we're going to write.


Yosef HaTzaddik, the serving youngest son of his beloved father, most beloved of all his siblings got saperated from this father at the age of 17.


His brothers who were supposed to protect him attempted to murder him and as they didn't succeed sold him to the Egyptians.


Let's stop here for a moment and put ourselves in his shoes. Imagine yourself as in Yosef’s place. What would you feel if you were just a young boy of 17, one of the youngest among the siblings and also most beloved, getting sold away by your own brothers to a long exile until no one knowing when it will end?


Did Yosef complain? No.


They sold him to Potipher and he started working for him. There he found himself with the most beautiful women on earth who tried day after day to sin with him.


Imagine, it was only a one time sin! No one will know about it. She was just extraordinarily beautiful. He has no one for himself, his mother died, his father got separated, brothers sold him, he is emotionally broken what would happen if he would do it once to satisfy himself?

Moreover, the wife of potipher had a reason to sin with him which is that she saw that his soul is designated to bond with her soul which really did but only after they reincarnated into Yehoshua and Rachav.


What did he do? Stood up against the evil inclination.


Finally, she caught him by his shirt, to sin with him, Yosef HaTzadik, stood firm as ever and fled from her. What reward did he recieve?


12 years in prison. Prison in their days wasn’t like today where it’s more advantageous to be in prison more than to be free. It was a pit and no light enters there.


He stood firm in his trust and confidence in Hashem.


The Rav brings a an anology in order to understand the evil inclination.


A king hired a very beautiful woman and promised to pay her handsomely if she succeeds in making the prince sin with her. She agreed.


He than called his son and told him, “Listen son, the time for you to get married will very soon arrive but i still have a doubt if you’re prepared for it. And thus, I want to make you aware of a certain woman, I am telling you, don’t even come close to her.”


Thus did the prince, he fled from her every way she could. Even in most challenging occasions, he kept in mind the words of his father and kept up on fleeing from her.


At the end, the kind called both the woman and his son. He reward her half the amount he promised for trying her best. And to his son he said, “Listen my son, now I know you are truly prepared, I organized the woman to make you sin and to you, I didn’t mention any reward but you still heeded my words and hence won the challenge.”


Hashem says, “My child, the sins that keep on chasing you, I am paying them only in order that I will be able to reward you. Keep an eye on them and flee every way you can, I am watching you.”


Hashem should help us fear him all our days and merit us the life in the world to come speedily in our days.


Shabbat Shalom Umevorach.


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