Vol 34.01 - Devarim 1           Spanish French Audio  Video

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 (5746) Rashi (Deut. 1:8): "Behold! I have set the land before you, and Rashi (ibid) "Go in and possess the land"



Verses 8-9 describe G-d’s promise to the Jewish people concerning the conquest of the Land of Israel, which was communicated by Moshe before the incident of the spies. 

Rashi explains that G-d was promising a totally miraculous conquest, without the need for weapons, but this was forfeited by the Jewish people, due to the incident with the spies. 

Rashi’s comments prompt the following questions:

a.    On the words. "See that I have put the Land before you" (v.8) Rashi comments. "You can see this with your own eyes!" I.e. Rashi makes it clear that the Torah is not using a metaphor here, that the refers to actual, physical sight. This begs the question: At this point, the Jewish people were still encamped by Mount Sinai (as stated in v6), so how would it be possible to see the Land of Israel and its conquest with their eyes? 

b.    It is obvious that if someone sees something with one’s own eyes, that no further confirmation is required. So why does Rashi add, "I am not telling you this out of speculation or from hearsay”?

c.    In his second comment to v8, Rashi writes, "If they had not sent the spies, they would not have needed weapons. On what basis did Rashi conclude, at the literal level, that no weapons would be required? 

In verse 7, the Jewish people are told the details concerning the Conquest of the Land of Israel: "Redirect yourselves and travel until you come to . . the land of the Canaanites, and the Levanon, all the way the until great river, the Euphrates River". Verse 8 then appears to state the general instruction to "come and take possession of the Land, etc.” 

So, Rashi was troubled: Why are the Jewish people given the details concerning the conquest of the Land, in verse 7, before the general command to conquer it, in verse 8? 

Rashi came to the conclusion that verse 8 is not merely an instruction to Conquer the Land. But rather, that it is a further description to the Jewish people about how they would conquer the land (and the actual command is in verse 7).

Up to this point, the Jewish people aware that they would eventually conquer the Land from two sources: 

a.    They had heard from Moshe while they were still in Egypt. that “I will bring you . . to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites the Amorites, the Perizites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey"' and "the people believed" (ibid 4:31) 

b.    After the miracles which occurred when leaving Egypt, and the splitting of the Reed Sea, where they sang about coming to the Land (ibid. 1517). 

Since the Jewish people were familiar with these two points. Rashi concluded that our verse must be confirming the conquest of the Land in an even more powerful manner. Thus, Rashi stresses: “I am not telling you this out of speculation—as you may have speculated yourselves after seeing G-d’s miracles leaving Egypt—Or from something I’ve heard—as I communicated to you G-d's promises while you still in Egypt, Rather: You’ll see it with your own eyes!, i.e. the Jewish people will see the proof themselves, with their very eyes, that the conquest of the Land was about to occur.

But what exactly were the Jewish people going to be able to see while still camped at Mount Sinai? And how did Rashi conclude that Moshe promised them a totally supernatural conquest? 

Rashi did not address either of these points directly, since the matter is self-understood from one of Rashi's earlier comments:

In verse 2, above, Rashi writes: "There is no shorter route from choreiv to Kadaish-Barne'a than by way of Mount Se'ir; and even that is a Journey of eleven days!”. But you covered it in three days!" (as Rashi continues to prove by a series of calculations) So, when reaching our verse, which was said by Moshe before the journey from Choraiv to Kadaish-garne'a (see v6)—the reader knows that the Jewish people were about to witness a phenomenal miracle, of completing an eleven-day journey in just three days. Therefore, Rashi did not need to explain how the Jewish people would be given visual confirmation of their imminent conquest ("You'll see it with your own eyes!"), for the reader knows that the Jewish people were about to witness a miraculous beginning to their journey towards conquering the Land of Israel. 

Similarly, Rashi did not need to bring any proof for his assertion, "No one will contest the matter, and you will not need to go to war," to the extent that "they would not have needed weapons.” for the miraculous beginnings with which the conquest began suggested that the entire process would be totally supernatural. 


We can now explain a further difficulty with Rashi's comment here: 
Rashi writes, "If they had not sent the spies they would not have needed weapons”. Now, at first glance, the problem here was not the actual sending of the spies but the fiasco which followed, where the Jewish people lost faith in G-d’s promises after the spies' negative reports. So why did Rashi not write, “if it were not for the Sin of the spies. . .? 

However, based on the above we can understand why the sending of the spies alone was sufficient to forfeit G-d’s promises. For G-d had promised them (and had begun to show them) a totally supernatural conquest. Thus, as soon as they had sent out spies, which is a strategy only required for a natural conquest, the Jewish people had already demonstrated an open denial of the promise of supernatural conquest. 
And this was Moshe's rebuke here to the Jewish people forty years later, as they were about to enter the Land: the importance of absolute trust G-d.

Rashi stresses that if The Jewish people trusted in G-d, nobody would have contested the Jewish people's rights to the Land of Israel. Likewise, in our times, when the Jewish people will trust in G-d, that the Land of Israel belongs unequivocally to them, and are willing to declare this openly to the nations of the world, then, "No one will contest the matter, and you will not need to go to war." In fact, even weapons will prove unnecessary, as Rashi writes. 

From Gutnick Chumash




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