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  KD MAGAZINE!         ב"ה              
 
 
  PARASHAT SHELACH  
 
Lasines
By Rabbi Chaim Lobel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

(Numbers; Chapter 13, Verse 2) “Send forth for yourself men, and let them spy out the Land of Canaan that I Give to the Children of Israel.” Moses is about to send spies who would ultimately speak poorly about G-d's promised land. (Verse 32) “They brought forth to the Children of Israel an evil report on the land that they had spied out saying, ‘the land through which we have passed devours it inhabitants.’”
 
Rashi comments that the spies were guilty of speaking Loshon Horah (slander) about the Jewish land, Israel, and that this episode is juxtaposed to the incident of Miriam speaking Loshon Horah about her brother, Moses. Miriam was punished with Tzoraas for speaking Loshon Horah and these wicked ones, the spies, saw what happened to her but did not take a lesson from the incident of Miriam to heart.
 
The spies were punished by death for their deed and the Children of Israel, between the ages of twenty and sixty, for believing and accepting the Loshon Horah (slander), were not allowed to enter the sacred land and wandered in the dessert for forty years.
 
How could the spies make such a fatal error after witnessing what happened to Miriam? The Torah testifies that (verse 3) “they were all distinguished men; heads of the Children of Israel.” Furthermore, the Torah lists these people in the order of their greatness. Joshua, the successor of Moses, was listed fifth. This alone shows us the greatness of this delegation. (Joshua and Caleb refused to corroborate with the other ten spies). How could such great men, who well recognized the dangers of Loshon Horah, choose to speak wrongly about the land of Israel?
 
The truth is that even though they witnessed what happened to Miriam and fully understood the severity of Loshon Horah, they failed to fully internalize the scope of slander. Why? Because the spies suffered from a fatal character flaw – arrogance. Despite understanding the complete nature of Loshon Horah, they were able to rationalize that what happened to Miriam, in this specific instance, did not apply to them.
 
But how could such lofty individuals suffer from arrogance? The Medrash Rabba (16:4) quotes a verse in Proverbs (10:21) to explain exactly the flaw in these spies. “Like vinegar to the palate and smoke in ones eyes, so too is a lazy messenger.”
 
From the Medrash Rabba, we discover a tremendous insight into the nature of arrogance. Why didn’t the ten spies fully internalize what happened to Miriam? Because it was easier to rationalize that Miriam’s situation did not apply to them, than it was to work on their personal characters. Even the greatest men of Israel, when faced with hardship, are subject to the allure of the easy path. The spies succumbed to arrogance because it was easier than recognizing their own shortcomings and working on them.
Shabbat Shalom
 
Rabbi Chaim Lobel is the Rabbi of Young Israel of Aberdeen, Congregation Bet Tefilah, Aberdeen, NJ. http://www.yiaberdeen.com/index.html

 
   
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