Vol 14.02 - Devarim 2 Spanish French Audio Video
(5734) The reason (according to the simple meaning of the verse) that the Torah stops in the middle of the story of the Spies (1:22ff) to tell of the decree against Moshe Rabbeinu entering the Land (1:35ff)
1. it has been mentioned many times that Rashi‘s style in his commentary on Torah is to explain all difficulties and misunderstandings in the simple understanding of the verse. And things that require explanation (according to the simple understanding of the verses), yet Rashi does not comment, is itself a proof that, according to the opinion of Rashi, they are self-explanatory, so much so that there is no necessity to explain them.
(or that they are understood, according to Rashi ‘s previous commentaries).
Accordingly, one must understand a great question that arises when learning the simple understanding of the verses in our Parsha, which many of the commentators on Torah struggle to answer - yet Rashi, the chief commentator, does not address (at all).
In our Parsha, Moshe speaks at length concerning the Sin of the Spies and on the punishment that was decreed on the Generation of the Wilderness (Dor Hamidbar):
“'If any of these men of this evil generation sees the good land, which I swore to give your forefathers (and the verse continues) “except Caleb the son of Yefuneh he will see it, etc.. because he has completely followed the L-rd.". He them pauses and says: “The L-rd was also angry with me because of you, saying, ‘Neither will you go there’”
.And after this digression resumes speaking about the Spies:
“But Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you he will go there; strengthen him, for he will cause Israel to inherit it. (Moreover) your little ones, whom you said will be prey, and your children, who on that day did not know good and evil they will go there and I will give it to them, and they will possess it.”
It is seemingly puzzling:
Why does it stop in the middle of recounting the deeds of the Spies to recount something that transpired with Moshe: “The L-rd was also angry with me because of you, saying, ‘Neither will you go there’”, as if to say that even the decree against Moshe entering the land was because of the sin of the Spies?
The sin of Moshe Rabbeinu which caused the decree that he not enter Eretz Yisroel is clearly stated in the verse – namely that it was because of the Waters of Strife (Mei Merivah) as it states:
"Since you did not have faith in Me etc.. therefore you shall not bring this assembly to the Land which I have given them”.
Therefore what is its place doing here in the middle of the story of the Spies? Specifically "Since you did not have faith in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly to the Land which I have given them."Since you did not have faith in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly to the Land which I have given them."Since you did not have faith in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly to the Land which I have given them."Since you did not have faith in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly to the Land which I have given them.,since the episode of the Spies and the episode of the Mei Merivah were apart from each other by almost forty years?
Ramban answers that Moshe mentioned the sin of Mei Merivah here because:
“he wanted to mention (group) together the punishment of all those that were precluded from entering the land - for it all was due to their sins etc.”
But according to the simple understanding of the verse it is difficult to explain it so. Because:
“For those who were to die in the wilderness had already died and these were set aside for life”.
According to this, their statement: “and they said, "Let us send men etc. The L-rd was also angry with me because of you, etc. your little ones, whom you said etc. “is not understood. For this implies that they were the same generation that all these verses are talking about?
2. Some explain that the intent of: “The L-rd was also angry with me because of you, etc.” is to reference the sin of the Spies, and primarily to imply that this was the reason that it was decreed:: “ ‘Neither will you go there.”
For even though Moshe did not himself join in the sin of the Spies, nevertheless he was punished because (by stating by stating “Send for yourself: - According to your own understanding”) he indirectly caused the sin of the Spies. Therefore he said : ‘because of you’ to imply that his barring from entering Eretz Yisroel was not because of his personal sin, but rather ‘because of you’ meaning to say that (the reason) ‘Neither will you go there’ is because it was decreed on the entire generation that they would not enter the land. Therefore even Moshe was (included in the decree and) not allowed to enter.
(and although it is stated in the verse, as aforementioned, that Moshe could not enter the Land due to the sin of Mei Merivah, one could say that solely because of the combination of both of them, he was punished with this decree. This is similar to what we find by Nadav and Avihu that many reasons were stated concerning their death, and only through the accumulation of all of them together, were they actually punished with death).
Because of this it states: “The L-rd was also angry with me because of you etc.” in the middle of recounting the episode of the Spies, for this too was a part of this episode for “because of you” refers to the generation of the Spies which is discussed in the scripture.
Yet it is impossible to explain it so according to the view of Rashi. For:
(In addition to that which the order of the verses is still not understood, as aforementioned in Par 3)
3. One could seemingly answer that the Torah juxtaposed the sin of Mei Merivah to the sin of the Spies – even though it is not relevant here and that the episodes were far apart in time – to teach the severity of the sin of Mei Merivah, that it is equal (before G-d) like the sin of the Spies.
This is similar to Rashi‘s explanation before this:
(On the verse ibid. 20:1 “Miriam died there and was buried there Miriam died there and was buried there” - therefore it is not necessary to explain it here):
“Why is the passage relating Miriam’s death juxtaposed with the passage of the Red Cow?
(For the Parsha of the Red Cow was said in the second year of the exodus of Bnei Yisroel from Egypt and the death of Miriam at the end of the fortieth year)
“To teach you that just as sacrifices bring atonement, so the death of the righteous secure atonement”.
Rashi comments similarly later on in Parshat Eikev:
“Moshe juxtaposed this reprimand (the death of Aaron) with the shattering of the tablets to teach that the death of the righteous is as disagreeable before G-d, as the day when the tablets were shattered etc.”
The same applies to our case where the verses are juxtaposed to teach that they are equal in their severity.
But this answer is difficult, because:
4. The explanation is:
Scripture explains the punishment of the Generation of the Wilderness:
“'If any of these men etc.. sees the good land etc.. except Caleb the son of Yefuneh etc.. and Yehoshua Bin Nun” for they were not like the others of that generation but rather “They will see the Land “.
However, Scripture splits them into two separate verses:
The reason for this is that although both of them entered the Land, when they came their status was not equal, for:
According to this it is understood that before it states: “Joshua the son of Nun” etc. “will cause Israel to inherit it”, Moshe preceded it by stating: “The L-rd was also angry with me”.
With this it answers, as an annotation (maamer haMusgar), the difference in the status of Caleb versus the status of Yehoshua, even though both of them performed the same deed: “Yehoshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Yefuneh, etc. tore their clothing (in grief)” Therefore, even their reward was grouped together (b’chada machsa) as it states: “In this desert your corpses shall fall” etc..” except for Caleb the son of Yefuneh and Yehoshua the son of Nun.”.
For the reason that it adds regarding Yehoshua that: “he will cause Israel to inherit it”, is because: “The L-rd was also angry with me because of you, saying, ‘Neither will you go there’”. Therefore –”Joshua the son of Nun” etc.. “will (not just) go there” (but) strengthen him, for he will cause Israel to inherit it.
And Rashi does not need to explain that this is a side-note, because we find many examples of this in Scripture.
(For example – previously :
It also is not necessary to explain that the word: “because of you” refers to the generation that was entering the Land (and not to the Generation of the Spies) – for it was already explained before this, as aforementioned, that the decree on Moshe was only because of the sin of Mei Merivah .
One should still not ask that when it states: “because of you”, it can be interpreted as referring to those people to which the verse is referring to now – because this is a side-note and does not flow with the topic of the Parsha.
5. however, it is still difficult:
Since this is a side-note and it is stated here is just in order to mention the decree on Moshe that “‘Neither will you go there’ and therefore also that “Joshua the son of Nun” etc.. “will cause Israel to inherit it.” – why must it add that (“The L-rd was angry) “because of you” – What difference does it make here if it was “because of you” or not?
The explanation is:
Rashi already explained previously in Parshat Pinchas that:
“Wherever (bechol makom) their death is mentioned, their iniquity is mentioned because it was decreed that the generation of the wilderness (would die) etc.. Moshe, therefore, requested that his iniquity be mentioned, so that it would not be said that he, too, was among those who rebelled.”
Therefore, since his death is written here – it is necessary to mention that: “The L-rd was also angry with me because of you” to indicate (as an aside) that his iniquity was only “because of you”. The sin of Mei Merivah where: “They are the waters of dispute where Bnei Yisroel contended with G-d”.
Accordingly (that it states “because of you” only as an aside and as a side-note), we can understand another aspect in our Rashi:
Further on in Parshat Vaetchanan it states: “G-d grew angry at me through your fault”
Rashi comments: “You caused this (to happen) to me. Similarly it states “And they provoked Him at the waters of Merivah, and Moshe suffered harm because of them.".
This seemingly is not understood:
If Rashi needs to elaborate on the explanation of “through your fault” that it means “You caused this (to happen) to me” and he needs to bring a proof from Tehilim: “And they provoked”,
he also should have done so when explaining the word: “because of you” in our Parsha, which preceded Parshat Vaetchanan, and not rely (here) in Parshat Devarim on his later comment in Parshat Vaetchanan?
According to the above, that it states “because of you” as an aside in a side-note, it is understood that there is no necessity to explain it here in our Parsha, since it is only coming here as an aside, and in its (proper) place in Parshat Vaetchanan (for there the story is related to Moshe himself) – it is explained and specified (yifartenu).
m’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Devarim, 5733
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