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  Choose Your Spies Wisely  

Location: BlogsThe Lidrosh Torah Audio Blog
Posted by: Rabbi Elazar Meisels 6/10/2007 3:20 PM

“And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying, ‘Send, for yourself men, and have them scout the Land of Canaan, which I am giving to Bnei Yisroel…’” 13:1,2

  • Send For Yourself - According to your opinion [you may send them.] I do not command you [to send them]. If you wish, send [them]. Because the Jewish people came and demanded, ‘let us send men before us,’ as it is said, ‘all of you approached me, etc.’ Moshe conferred with the Shechinah. Hashem said, 'I told them that it is good, as it is said, ‘I will bring you up from the suffering of Egypt, etc. (to a land flowing with milk and honey)’ By their lives! I'll give them an opportunity for error with the report of the spies, so that they will not inherit it.” – Rashi
  • Send For Yourself Men - The last letters of the words, “Shelach Lechah Anoshim” [Send for yourself men] are Ches, Chof, and Mem, which spells “Chochom” [wise man]. This teaches us that Hashem instructed Moshe to send only Chachomim [wise men]. – Baal HaTurim

The obvious question is why Hashem would agree to send spies when He clearly wasn’t in favor of the idea. There are numerous explanations but one that stands out is an idea suggested by the mystics, which paints Moshe, and possibly the Jewish people, in a more favorable light. Moshe was not for sending the spies- he knew full well that it was a terrible idea- but he recognized that there was little he could do to prevent the people from acting upon their wishes. Hashem’s advice for Moshe was that he himself should select the spies from among the greatest and most righteous of the nation, in the hope was that these people would be less likely to seek to appease the public and present negative information about Eretz Yisroel. That the people agreed to Moshe choosing is to their credit, and indeed, had the people sent their own choices, the results would have been far worse. At least these spies reported on the positive aspects of the land, as well.

Copyright ©2007 Rabbi Elazar Meisels - Free MP3 Torah