Vol 23.12 - Shlach 2                     Spanish French Audio  Video

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(5741) The argument of Moshe (Num. 14:13 etc). "The nations ..will say the L-rd lacked the ability etc. so He slaughtered them". The exactness of the word  "slaughtered".

R' Eliezer's view that the Generation of the Wilderness has a share in the World to Come. (Tal. Sanh. 108a)

G-d’s love for the Jews, known to all the world, makes is obvious that the reason for the Jews’ “shechita”, would be a punishment done for their benefit; However, the fact that it would be done in the desert might indicate to the non-Jews that G-d lacked the ability to do bring the Jews to Eretz Yisrael

Our attitude towards every Jew, even one that appears like the Spies, should be to see each one as connected to G-d; our efforts to bring this out in every Jew, triggers the non-Jew to assist the Jews in all their needs.


1. It has already been mentioned many times, that Rashi, in his commentary on Torah, addresses every aspect which is difficult or requires explanation in the simple meaning of the verse.

(And when Rashi has no explanation on an aspect in the simple meaning of the verse, he writes “I do not know” and so forth).

Therefore, when one finds a difficulty in the Pshat of the verses, and Rashi does not address it, one must say that, according to the simple meaning of the verse, this is from the very onset, not a question. For according to the Pshat, it is self-understood, or it is because it has been forewarned through a previous comment of Rashi.

According to this, one must understand in our Parsha, where there is a difficulty in the simple understanding (Pshat) of the verses, which is blatantly apparent (“hits one in the eye”) even to a five-year old Chumash student. Yet we do not see that Rashi answers it.

2. After the Spies returned from espying the Land and said:

“We are unable to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we”,

and the Yidden did not want to go up to Eretz Yisroel, G-d said:

“I will strike them with a plague and annihilate them; then I will make you into a nation, greater and stronger than they".

On this Moshe replied to G-d:

“The Egyptians will hear that You have brought this nation out from its midst with great power. . if You kill this nation like one man, the nations . . will say as follows: 'Since the L-rd lacked the ability to bring this nation to the Land which He swore to them, He slaughtered them in the desert'”.

It is completely not understood:

How is it that regarding this aspect, of “I will strike them . . and annihilate them etc.” - all the Yidden, six hundred thousand men besides the women and children (and also men who are younger than twenty and older than sixty) - that Moshe did not express any astounding claim and plea. Moreover, his entire claim was just,

“the nations who have heard . . will say as follows: 'Since the L-rd lacked the ability etc.’”?!

Everyone understands, even a child), that the annihilation (אומקום) of so many people will affect a person himself, much more than what others may say about it.

It is simple when one speaks regarding G-d, and in relation to the beings that He created, and how much more so regarding the Yidden, who are “children of the Omnipresent” and He took them out of Egypt and chose them to be His treasured nation etc.

Yet here comes Moshe Rabbeinu, who is the one who led the Yidden until here, the one who had self-sacrifice for them (as it states: “blot me out from your book that You have written”, and who pleaded with G-d saying, “please kill me . .so that I will not see my evil." - on behalf of the Yidden).

Yet when G-d says,

“I will strike them with a plague and annihilate them; then I will make you into a great nation”,

he does not demand:

How could You annihilate (אומברענגען the entire Klal Yisroel, Your children, as it states, “Yisroel is My firstborn”, G-d forbid - and the only (main) claim is,

“The nations . . will say: ‘Since the L-rd lacked the ability etc.’”?

Even though this statement,

“The nations . . will say: ‘Since the L-rd lacked the ability etc.’”

is an aspect of desecrating G-d’s Name (Chillul HaShem) - nevertheless Moshe should have pleaded and demanded regarding the aspect of, “I will strike them with a plague”, and afterward added that, “The nations . . will say: ‘Since the L-rd lacked the ability etc.’”.

The proof and substantiation for this is as we find by the Sin of the Calf. At the very beginning Moshe said,

"Why, O L-rd, should Your anger be kindled against Your people whom You have brought up from the land of Egypt with great power and with a strong hand?

And only afterward added:

Why should the Egyptians say: 'He brought them out with evil (intent) to kill them etc.”.

Furthermore, it is not understood:

One sees that specifically this claim,

“The nations will say etc.”

accomplished that G-d said,

 "I have forgiven them in accordance with your word”,

and effected the actual nullification of the decree, as Rashi translates and emphasizes.

In accordance with your word: Because of what you said, namely, ‘They might say that G-d lacks the ability’”.

Rashi further explains:

“So that My Name shall not be desecrated through this plague by (people) saying “Since G-d lacked the ability to bring them.” For I shall not kill them suddenly, as one man, but gradually, over a period of forty years”.

Yet we do not find that Rashi says any explanation on this!

3. One can understand this by prefacing the change in wording in the conclusion of Moshe’s speech,

“(The nations will say) . . ‘He slaughtered them in the desert’”,

which is seemingly not a common expression among people, and especially since Moshe himself previously said,

if You kill this nation”

and G-d replied with the words,

“I will strike them with a plague”.

One could say that the explanation of this is:

With this word – the innovation of the aspect of “He slaughtered them” - it is understood why Moshe did not mention and claim to G-d regarding that which G-d said “I will strike them with a plague”:

The aspect of slaughtering (concerning an animal) is as a five-year old understands this. Namely, that this prepares the animal to be fit to be food for a person. This means that the purpose of slaughtering is not the death and killing, but rather the opposite:

Through this there comes an elevation and advantage to the animal. This is as we already previously learned regarding the Akeidah, that the reason that Avraham went to “slaughter his son”, was to carry out G-d’s command to “Sacrifice him there as a burnt-offering (Olah)”- that Yitzchak should be a holy sacrifice to G-d. A semblance of this is in our case.

4. The reasoning of this is:

 It is known and (also) understood in the simple meaning of the verse, in many verses, that G-d is merciful and gracious, the epitome of goodness and kindness. All commands that G-d commanded to people, in general, and certainly the Mitzvot which He gave to the Yidden, His treasured people, are for their good - of those who were commanded.

Through acting in accordance with G-d’s commands, one’s life, in this world, is as it should be, also materially. For example, as it states,

“If you follow My statutes and keep My commandments . . I will provide your rains in their proper time etc.”,

with all the blessings that the Torah enumerates.

From this, one understands it from the other perspective:

When one does not obey G-d’s commands, for which one is punished (as is expressed in Torah). The intent is not the punishment itself, in order to take revenge, G-d forbid, on the person, or just to castigate him. Rather, it for the benefit of the person.

Since one did not act in accordance with G-d’s command,

(which only then, does one live a life worthy of the name, both in spiritual life, as well as in physical life)

and he transgressed sins, and especially severe ones. Therefore, in order for one not to have a life of pain, in this world, saying: “why should I live?” and more than this, saying: “I am disgusted with my life”, G-d takes him from the life of this world, for the benefit of the person. This, prevents (פארמיידט) him from enduring a burdensome life in this world.

This is how Rashi, already explained previously - with a much greater innovation:

Avraham Avinu, a complete Tzaddik who feared G-d etc., etc. “died five years before his time”, in order that he not have a life of pain, in this world, from Esav’s conduct.

Regarding a sin – as in our case – it comes out – that this

(the punishment of death, G-d forbid)

purifies and refines the person, in order to allow him to come to the lofty life of Olam HaBa (the World-to-Come).

(For even a five-year old has already learned about Olam HaBa in Rashi’s commentary).

5. According to this, it is understood regarding the sin of the Yidden in our Parsha, and why Moshe, in his speech, did not emphasize the claim against the essential statement, “I will strike them” against the Yidden, as he did by the Sin of the Calf:

When the Yidden sinned with the Sin of the Calf, Moshe prayed to G-d,

"Why, O L-rd, should Your anger be kindled against Your people whom You have brought up from the land of Egypt etc.”?

They can return to G-d, do Teshuvah and it will atone. Therefore, their life in this world, from now on, will be as it should be - not a life of pain. For the Yidden will obey G-d’s command.

Which is not so here, by the sin of the Spies, where G-d said,

"How long will this people provoke Me? How much longer will they not believe in Me after all the signs I have performed in their midst”?

This emphasizes:

  1. That this is not a one-time thing. Rather, the “(How long) will this people provoke Me”, is in a constant manner, and there has not been any change for the better, after all these previous sins.
  2. This is not just a sin against G-d’s commands. Rather it is a sin which affects the (primary and foundational) aspect of faith, “How much longer will they not believe in Me”?

Therefore, it is understood that in this case Moshe did not have anything with which to plead on behalf of the Yidden themselves. Since the,

“I will strike them with a plague and annihilate them”

is (not due to a punishment, in and of itself, but rather) for their good, as aforementioned, at length.

This is why Moshe said,

“(They will say that) He slaughtered them”.

It is not a killing, G-d forbid, but rather an aspect of slaughtering, which is for the benefit of the slaughtered. This “draws him from one domain to another domain” and elevates him to a loftier life – the life of the soul in Olam HaBa.

6. However, Moshe’s claim was:

Since the (main) deficiency here is the lack of faith

(that which,

“(How much longer) will they not believe in Me“,


“all the all the signs I have performed in their midst”?

As Rashi states, “because of all the miracles I performed for them, they should have believed that I am capable of fulfill fill filling My promises”).

What place does this punishment of “if You kill this nation like one man” have? Since this will cause the same deficiency of lack of faith in the Egyptians,

(who saw “how You have brought this nation out from its midst with great power”).

and in “the nations who have heard of Your reputation”.


“They will say: 'the L-rd lacked the ability to bring this nation to the Land which He swore to them etc.'”.

Namely, that G-d cannot, G-d forbid, keep His promise – His oath?

In other words, how is it relevant that the, “I will strike them with a plague” should forewarn and prevent the aspect of the lack of faith and the sin of the Yidden- and at the same time cause:

  1. A lack of faith among the nations, and therefore
  2. Even the lack of listening and fulfilling G-d’s command which the nations have been commanded?

7. However, one could ask:

The wording, “He slaughtered them” is not the words that Moshe himself said.

Rather, he said it as an expression that the nations would say,

(As it states, “the nations will say: 'Since the L-rd lacked the ability . . He slaughtered them’”.

According to this understanding and supposition of the nations, the words,

“I will strike them with a plague”

was not for the sin of Bnei Yisroel, and for their benefit.

(similar to the aspect of slaughtering – that they should be prepared for a life in Olam HaBa)

Rather, it is because, “the L-rd lacked the ability etc.”

This is as Rashi states,

“When they hear that You killed them, they will not assume that they sinned against You, but they will say that against them You were able to fight, but against the inhabitants of the Land You were unable to fight”.

According to this, why does one state the word, “He slaughtered them”?

Plainly, one could say, that Moshe said this, as their words, to allude to, why should one consider the statements of the nations:


“I will strike them with a plague etc.”

is an aspect of “slaughtering” for good

(so that there not be a lack of faith in G-d, among the Yidden),

It is not appropriate that from this itself, there should come out an aspect of the opposite of good, the opposite of faith in G-d’s ability – among the nations, as aforementioned.

However, this is not sufficient.

For in the end, it is much more fitting that Moshe should say the word, “He slaughtered them” in his own speech to G-d; and in the speech of the nations, it would have been more fitting to state, “and He killed them in the desert”, as aforementioned.

From this itself, it proves that with this Moshe meant:

Even the nations will understand that this is an aspect of “slaughtering them”- that it is for the benefit of Bnei Yisroel. Yet despite this, they will say, “the L-rd lacked the ability etc.”

The reason for this is emphasized in that which the verse emphasizes,

“(He slaughtered them) in the desert”.

8. The aspect is:

Moshe’s elaborate words,

“They will say about the inhabitants of this land, who have heard that You, O L-rd, are in the midst of this people; that You, the L-rd, appear to them eye to eye etc.”,

conveys that the nations know of the great affection G-d has for the Yidden,

“and until now they had not realized that Your love for them had been withdrawn”.

And that they also know of G-d’s oath to bring the Yidden into Eretz Yisroel (as it states further, in the continuation of Moshe’s words).

Therefore, knowing the great affection G-d has for the Yidden and regarding the oath to bring them into the Land, the nations will reason (אפלייגן) that even when the Yidden are in a condition which requires a conduct of “slaughtering them”, for their benefit, as aforementioned.

Nevertheless, G-d must first bring them immediately into Eretz Yisroel (as it was arranged at the outset) in order to fulfill His oath. After their entering into the Land, G-d would carry out, in the Land, the (“I will strike them with a plague”, and in a manner of) “slaughtering them”.

However, if “You kill this nation like one man” will be carried out “in the desert”, the nations will say that this is indeed an aspect of “slaughtering them”, “all in in an affectionate manner”.

However, since the matter came about “in the desert” and G-d did not bring them into Eretz Yisroel, it is because,

“the L-rd lacked the ability to bring this nation to the Land which He swore to them”.

9. According to the aforementioned, it comes out that the “I will strike them with a plague” of the Generation of the Wilderness is an aspect of “slaughtering them”– a preparation to merit the life of Olam HaBa (and from this it is understood, from a Kal v’Chomer (במכש״כ) that this was indeed so, when it came to actuality, in that which it was “I will strike them” in the course of the forty years).

This fits with the view of R’ Eliezer that,

“The Generation of the Wilderness come to the World-to-Come”,

which means - the life of the soul in a body, at the Resurrection of the Dead.

This is also understood from many places in Zohar. So much so, that as it states in the Midrash and in the Zohar, this is the reason why Moshe did not enter Eretz Yisroel and remained in the desert. This is in order that he should come with them, and rise up with them in Eretz Yisroel (in the Future).

This maxim (כלל) is that where there is a debate in the exoteric aspect of Torah (Niglah) one rules as how it states in the Aggadah, and the Zohar, and so forth.

Especially in our case, for from the Talmud itself, it appears that the Halacha is like R’ Eliezer, as the Talmud applies to R’ Akiva who maintains that they do not have a portion in Olam HaBa – “R’ Akiva abandoned his piety” (and uncharacteristically interpreted the verses harshly).

10. According to the aforementioned, regarding the punishments of the Torah, in general, and regarding the explanation of the aspect of “He slaughtered them”, it is understood that not only does the Generation of the Wilderness, in general, have a portion in Olam HaBa, but that also the Spies themselves, who were meted out their punishment immediately as it states,

“the men who spread an evil report about the Land died in the plague, before the L-rd”,

also have a portion in Olam HaBa.

Although in the Mishnah in Talmud Bavli, it states that,

“The spies have no share in the World-to-Come, as it is states: “And those men . . died by plague etc.”. “And…died” indicates in this world; “by plague” indicates for the World-to-Come”.

Nevertheless, it is implied in the Zohar that even they have a portion in Olam HaBa.

According to this, one could say that even in the Talmud Bavli, this not just a plain Mishnah that all agree upon.

Rather the reason that that R’ Eliezer says,

“About them the verse says: “Gather My pious together to Me, those that have entered into My covenant by offering” (Ps. 50:5),

is not that it just refers to the above section (לפניו) of the Mishnah that refers to the Generation of the Wilderness. Rather, that his statement also refers to the “section before that section” (לפני פניו) – which refers to the statement that the Spies have no share in the World-to-Come.

This is indeed apparent from the essence of the verse that R’ Eliezer cites:

“Gather My pious together to Me, those that have entered into My covenant by offering”

This means, (as Rashi explains):

“Those who made a covenant with the Omnipresent through sacrifices and peace-offerings, as it states, ‘and they slaughtered peace offerings’ and as it states ‘and (Moshe) sprinkled it on the people, and he said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the L-rd has formed with you’".

For also the Spies were among those that “made a covenant with the Omnipresent” at the time of Matan Torah.

Although the sin of the Spies itself, was more severe and worse than the sin of the entire Generation of the Wilderness,

Nevertheless, since the aspect of a covenant (which also includes the Spies) is,

“As an analogy, two friends that make a pact between them that their love should not cease etc., that they fear perhaps the matter will be nullified and their love nullified . . through the forming of the covenant their love will be eternal”.

It is understood that even in such a condition, when in actuality, one does not act befitting. So much so, that “according to reason and logic, the love must be terminated, or it will cause hatred”.

(as this is the sin of Spies)

Nevertheless, the love remains between the partners of the pact with the same force as it was at the time of the creation of the pact,

“For they came into the pact and connection as if they were made one flesh. Like all of this analogy, this is what G-d did for us etc.”

11. From all the aforementioned, there is the lesson that one must look at another Yid, whatever condition he may be in, even when it appears that he is just like the Spies, G-d forbid. Nevertheless, one must look at him and see that due to his true being, he is one of,

"All Israel have a share in the World-to-Come”.

For he is “the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, in which I take pride."

Therefore, one must deal with him to bring out his very essence, into revelation in his daily life. This accomplishes that even all nations see,

“that You, O L-rd, are in the midst of this people; that You, the L-rd, appear to them eye to eye”, “all in an affectionate manner, and until now they had not realized that Your love for them had been withdrawn”.

Therefore, all the nations will help each Yid and all Yidden with all of their needs. So much so, it will be that,

“kings shall be your nursing fathers and their princesses your wet nurses”.

Even at the end of the time of the Galut, and this, even more so, hastens the coming of our righteous Moshiach, who will rectify,

“the entire world, to serve G-d together as Tzephaniah 3:9 states: 'Then, I will transform the peoples to a purer language that they all will call upon the name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.'”.

M’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Shlach 5740

Motzai Shabbat Kodesh Chukat-Balak 5739


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