Vol 38.07 - Shlach 1 Spanish French Audio Video
(5751) Rashi (Num.13:23): "Joshua and Caleb did not take anything, for the intention of the others was to present a slanderous report". How could they absolve themselves from fulfilling Moshe's command to "take from the fruit of the land"?
Debate in the two answers in Talmud (Tal. Sotah 34a) and the difference between the Talmud and Rashi's commentary on Torah
Yehoshua and Calev did not bring the fruit back from the Land of Israel, since the intention of the other spies was to use the fruit to mislead the Jews; thus, they were exempt from Moshe’s directive of bringing back fruit of the Land
The positive intention in the Mitzvos even more than the action, produces a vitality, especially in the learning of the inner part of Torah
Rashi specifies the order of carrying the fruit:
“Eight of them took a cluster of grapes, one took a fig and one took a pomegranate. Joshua and Caleb did not take anything, for the intention of the others was to present a slanderous report, namely, just as its fruit is extraordinary, so its people are extraordinary.”
This requires explanation:
Moshe Rabbeinu commanded them: “You shall be courageous and take from the fruit of the land." Therefore how were Joshua and Caleb able to exempt themselves and not take anything? And if the “entire intention of the (spies) was to present a slanderous report”, then they needed to take the fruit of the land to fulfill Moshe’s command. And, it is simple that their intention was for the good, to show the praise of the land.
And one cannot say that the words of Moshe: “and take from the fruit of the land." was not considered a command that they were required to heed (his voice) since it was not a (direct) command from G-d.
For, on the contrary, G-d said to Moshe: “Send for yourself: According to your own understanding. I am not commanding you, but if you wish, you may send”
And this is apparent from Parshat Devarim (1:22): “And all of you approached me and said, "Let us send men ahead of us” And Rashi comments on the verse: “And the matter pleased me:”
“It pleased me, but it did not please the Omnipresent.” But if it pleased Moses, why does he mention it in his rebukes? This may be compared to a man who says to his friend etc - I too, consented to your words, thinking that you would perhaps reconsider when you saw that I do not withhold it from you, but you did not reconsider”
Thus, it is simple that since Moshe actually sent them, that they were the emissaries of Moshe. Therefore even in the particular in Moshe’s words: “and take from the fruit of the land", there was a command and mission.
2. The source of Rashi (in this that Joshua and Caleb did not take anything) is in Talmud (Sotah 34a). But there the Talmud cites two reasons:
“Joshua and Caleb did not carry anything. If you wish I can say it is because:
1. they were the most distinguished of them,
2. or alternatively that they did not have a share in the plan.
It appears that these two answers disagree as to the fulfillment of the mission. Whether, the mission of Moshe was nullified:
For according to the first reason that Joshua and Caleb did not carry anything]because “they were the most distinguished of them”, it is understood that in essence, they were required to carry the fruits of the land but they were exempted from actually carrying them due to their being distinguished. Therefore the mission of Moshe was not nullified.
However according to the second reason that: “they did not have a share in the plan” one could say that since the Spies went (from the start) with “evil intent”, the entire mission was nullified.
[And one could explain the difference between the two opinions according to Halacha:
· Whether the twelve men that Moshe sent were considered a single entity and the command of Moshe was all-inclusive command (klalli) to them. Like, for example, the obligation of a quorum (tzibbur). Therefore when one part of the mission was nullified, the entire mission was nullified.
· Or whether it was a command to each individual ]
According to this, since Rashi, in his commentary on Torah, follows the second reason, that: “Joshua and Caleb did not take anything, for the intention of the others was to present a slanderous report”, he held that the entire mission was nullified and therefore, they were not required to bring fruits.
[And the reason Rashi does not hold like the first opinion, one could simply say is because since the command of Moshe was to be “be courageous and take from the fruit of the land.”, it was not even a suggestion that, because of their distinction, Joshua and Caleb should not fulfill the command]
However, this is completely contrary to the simple understanding of the verse. For Joshua and Caleb returned from spying the land and reported to their commanders (Sholcheihem) concerning the praise of the land: “"The land is exceedingly good”. And they even attempted to persuade them to go up to the land ( as it states: “for we can indeed overcome it." , “If the L-rd desires us” etc. ,“do not fear them.").
In other words, Moshe‘s mission was fulfilled by Joshua and Caleb. And this is apparent from Rashi’s commentary on the verse: “But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Yefuneh remained alive of the men who went to tour the Land’: -
“It teaches that they took the spies’ portion in the Land, and replaced them in life, as it were. “
And this is because Moshe‘s mission (to all the twelve men) was fulfilled through them and therefore they took the spies’ portion etc. and replaced them.
It is very difficult to posit in Rashi’s commentary on Torah that Moshe‘s mission was a collective command to all of them and when some of the mission was nullified, the entire mission was nullified – for this is not the simple understanding of the verse.
On the contrary, Joshua and Caleb went together with them and did not separate from them when they saw that they had an evil intent (like the simple wording of Rashi’s comment that “their departure was with ‘evil intent’ (13:26)”, and also that before they departed Moses prayed on Joshua‘s behalf, “May G-d save you from the counsel of the spies.” (13:16))
3. This can be understood by prefacing the wording of the Talmud and Rashi’s wording.
· For in the Talmud it states concisely that: “They did not have a share in the plan”
· Yet Rashi elaborates with the words: “for their entire intention was to present a slanderous report, that just as its fruit is extraordinary, so its people are extraordinary.”
And the difference between them is simply that:
According to the explanation of the Talmud, it is possible to say that the reason Joshua and Caleb did not take any fruit is because they did not want to do anything that would indicate that they were part of the Spies’ plan, even though the essential act of carrying the fruit did not contain any negative connotation.
However Rashi adds and emphasizes that the “plan” of the spies was even in the act of bringing the fruit itself. Therefore Joshua and Caleb did not join with them in carrying the fruit - not just to avert any room to mistake that that they shared in their plan, in general. But (to show that) they did not want to have any part in this act of bringing the fruits, since the intent of the spies (even) in this action was to: “to present a slanderous report”
Yet, this (still) did not exempt them from fulfilling the Moshe‘s mission.
It is necessary to understand:
How does Rashi know that the essential act of carrying the fruit was to: “to present a slanderous report”? From the simple wording of the verses, it appears to be the opposite, that the slanderous report of the Spies was after they showed Yisroel the fruits. As it states:
“They told him etc., "We came to the land etc. and it is flowing with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who inhabit the land are mighty etc. , and the cities (are extremely huge and fortified) etc.”
And this is apparent even in Rashi‘s commentary there, (who writes) that it was: “partially true” and that they said this in order to substantiate the lie that that they told in the end.
4. One could say the explanation in all this is:
It is known that of the Mitzvot in Torah:
In the same vein, there is room to examine in the nature of the mission to: “be courageous and take from the fruit of the land.", if the primary intent of the mission was:
For since Moshe emphasized the words: “be courageous and take from the fruit of the land." which was the act of taking, then the act of the individual (gavra) (performing the deed) i.e. taking the fruit and carrying it, was an essential part of the mission.
And one could say (with difficulty, at least) that the view of the Talmud is like the first manner, that their mission was the outcome and accomplishment, and therefore the deed of carrying the fruits did not matter. For there was no obligation to carry it, but rather to bring the fruits (in any way possible) to Moshe and to (Bnei) Yisroel.
And therefore the two reasons in the Talmud regarding why Joshua and Caleb did not carry the fruit,
(and that they did not worry about not fulfilling the command of Moshe to : “be courageous and take from the fruit of the land."
i.e whether “they were the most distinguished of them . . . or that they did not have a share in the plan,
In other words, in either case the mission of Moshe was fulfilled through the others and there was no obligation on each person individually to bring the fruits. Therefore the reasons that they were “distinguished” or that “they did not have a share in the plan” was sufficient to explain why they did not endeavor to insure that the mission was fulfilled specifically through them.
5. And one could say that the opinion of Rashi in his commentary on Torah is not this way (i.e like the above view of the Talmud). But rather: “be courageous and take from the fruit of the land." was an obligation to (each) person (as the verse simply implies). In essence, it was an obligation on each one of the twelve men to take and carry the fruit of the land.
And because of this opinion, it is impossible for Rashi to be satisfied with the wording of the Talmud that the reason that they did not take was because: “They did not have a share in the plan” –
For this wording could explain (as aforementioned), that they did not want to allow any room to mistake that they had any connection to the plan of the Spies, in general –
But it is not sufficient to absolve them from an explicit command of Moshe Rabbeinu to “take from the fruit of the land.".
Therefore Rashi writes: “Joshua and Caleb did not take anything, for the entire intention of the others was to present a slanderous report, that just as its fruit is extraordinary, so its people are extraordinary”.
One could say that Rashi‘s intent (in this wording) was not that they explicitly said to Bnei Yisroel that “just as its fruit is extraordinary, so its people are extraordinary” –
For as mentioned above, it is explained in the beginning of their speech: “They told him and said, ‘We came to the land to which you sent us, and it is flowing with milk and honey, and this is its fruit’. And Rashi comments that this was the “partially true” (statement) that the Spies said in the beginning in order to substantiate the lie that they afterwards told: “However, the people who inhabit the land are mighty etc.” –
But rather, the intent of Rashi is that this was just their intent in bringing the fruit. For the actual deed of bringing the fruit was in a manner that appeared to Bnei Yisroel that by doing do they had fulfilled the command of Moshe to “take from the fruit of the land.". But they had a hidden agenda, that by saying a partial truth, it would substantiate the lie that: “However, the people who inhabit the land are mighty etc.” (And it was (Bnei) Yisroel that said: “just as its fruit is extraordinary, so its people are extraordinary”)
According to this manner (of explanation) it is understood why Joshua and Caleb did not take anything:
If there was not any intent of slander (on the part of the spies) in the deed of bringing the fruits, it is simple that Joshua and Caleb would have joined with them to fulfill the command and mission of Moshe that they: “be courageous and take from the fruit of the land" (which was an obligation of each individual, as aforementioned).
But since there was (here) a positive act
(the bringing of the fruit that displayed the goodness of the land and its praise)
intermingled with an unwanted intent, it became impossible for them to take anything, For if they would also have joined in bringing the fruit from the goodness of the land, they would have abetted a sin (namely, the evil intent of the spies in bringing the fruit), And the aiding of a sin defers the mission of Moshe. And perhaps this is not a deferment, but the (actual) intent of Moshe. Namely, that they should not take fruit in a manner that would abet a sin. And on the contrary, this nullifies the intent of the mission.
6, One could say that the lesson in Avodat HaAdam from Rashi‘s commentary is:
It is known that the main mistake of the spies was in that they wanted to perform their Avodah mainly with thought and also with speech. (studying Torah and the intent of Mitzvot). And they did not want to descent into the world of deed (Olam HaMaaseh) and keep the physical Mitzvot that are dependent on land (Eretz Yisroel etc. Because of this (view) a person could come to mistake, on the other hand, and to think that since deed is paramount (Maaseh hu HaIkar), the intention of the heart (kavanat haLev) and the thought of the mind do not matter so much.
Therefore Rashi teaches us that: ”Their hidden intent to bring a “slanderous report” caused the overturning of the fulfillment of the command of Moshe to an aspect of sin and Lashon Hara.
A positive force is always stronger (“Merubah middah tovah”) for from this (episode) we learn just how important the quality of good intention and good thought is, in performing Mitzvot. As it states, a Mitzvah without intention is like a body without a soul (Mitzvah bli kavana keguf bli neshama) . For the effect of the soul on the body is not secondary or on a part, but rather the soul changes the entity of the body from one that is not alive (heipach haChaim) to alive. And the intention of the Mitzvot gives life to the Mitzvah
And this main thing is accomplished through learning Pnimiyut of Torah, Torat HaChassidut, For it has within it, a glimmering (m’Ein) of the reasons of Torah that will be revealed in the Future, as is known.
And one could say that, accordingly, there is an obligation to believe in Moshiach and to await his coming - that it must be (within a person) inwardly and truthfully, from the depths of the heart.
And this will hasten and bring the true Redemption (Geulah HaAmitah) and the fulfillment of the prophecy: “And I will give you a heart of flesh”, speedily and in our days, mamosh.
(m’Sichas Motzai Shabbat Parshat Shlach 5738)
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