by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS SHLACH 5761 BS"D
L'ILUY NISHMAS OVI MORI R' CHAIM B"R SIMCHOH Z"L HK"MM - FIRST YAHRTZEIT 27 SIVON 5761
Ch. 13, v. 4: "V'ei'leh shmosom" - What governs the sequence of the tribes mentioned in this and the following verses? The Ramban says that they are in order of the stature of each representative of his tribe. He adds that this is also the guideline for the order of counting in Bmidbar 34:17 onwards. The Sforno disagrees and says that they were all of equal stature. The deciding factor is age, starting with the oldest representative. MVRHRH"G R' Yaakov Kamenecki zt"l finds the Sforno problematic as Yehoshua was older than Ko'leiv and was mentioned later. He offers that there was no order, as we see on the words in Dvorim 1:22, "Vatik'r'vun eilai kulchem," a recount of the parsha of the spies, that Rashi comments that these words indicate that they came in an "arvuvia," a chaotic, disorderly group, with the youths shoving their elders, and the elders shoving the tribal heads.
Ch. 13, v. 11: "L'ma'tei Yoseif l'ma'tei Menasheh" - Here we find not only Menasheh mentioned but also his father Yoseif. However, in verse 8 where the representative of the tribe of Efrayim is mentioned there is no mention of Yoseif. Rashi in Sefer Hapardes page 93 and others say that here it is pointed out that Gadi ben Susi of the tribe of Menasheh is a descendant of Yoseif to indicate that Yoseif spoke negatively of his brothers (Breishis 37:2) and his descendant Gadi unfortunately did likewise. The representative of the tribe of Efrayim, Hoshei'a bin Nun, spoke positively of the land, hence Yoseif is not mentioned.
The Meshech Chochmoh explains that Yoseif is mentioned only by the tribe of Menasheh since in the future half the tribe would settle in Trans-Jordan (Bmidbar 32:33). We might think that a representative of the tribe was one who had no strong feelings for residing in Eretz Yisroel. The verse therefore stresses that the spy who was sent was a descendant of Yoseif, who was very strongly connected to Eretz Yisroel. Even when he was in Egypt for a number of years he proudly stated, "Ki gunove gunavti mei'ertz ho'Ivrim" (Breishis 40:15), that he was from Eretz Yisroel. Thus the verse indicates that the person sent would hopefully bring back a report that would encourage the bnei Yisroel to conquer and inhabit Eretz Yisroel. In spite of this, we later see that this was of no avail.
If one were to ask that the tribes of Reuvane and Gad had all their people settle in Trans-Jordan and yet there were representatives sent from those tribes, it seems that there was no choice but to send one person from each tribe. Alternatively, it is suggested by Rabbi Y. Bernstein zt"l that there is no indication that the bnei Reuvane and bnei Gad were anti Eretz Yisroel. They had a large amount of cattle and were very impressed by the grazing capacity of Trans-Jordan. They gave more importance to this than to residing in Eretz Yisroel. However, the half of Menasheh that resided in Trans-Jordan did not have this consideration and it seems that they were not terribly interested in living in Eretz Yisroel.
It seems that this explanation is not in consonance with the M.R. Breishis 84:19 mentioned by the Chizkuni (Breishis 32:32) who says that the reason half of the bnei Menasheh were given land in Trans-Jordan was not at their request, but rather as a punishment for their ancestor Menasheh causing the brothers to rent their garments in two when Yoseif's goblet was found in Binyomin's satchel.
Ch. 13, v. 23: "Va'yiso'uhu" - Rashi says that Yehoshua and Ko'leiv were not involved in bringing back any of the produce of the land. The Paa'nei'ach Rozo asks on Rashi, "How can we say that they showed their true colours at this point? Possibly Yehoshua did, but this could not have been the case with Ko'leiv, as Rashi later says on the words "ruach a'cher'es" in 14:24, that upon returning, Ko'leiv tricked the spies into believing that he sided with them by saying 'Ani imo'chem,' - I am one of you. If he had earlier refused to bring back the incriminating fruit, did they not realize that he sided with Yehoshua?" He answers that Ko'leiv excused himself by saying that he was unwell, "ossoh atzmo choleh," and not able to carry such a large weight. According to the explanation (one of numerous ones offered in 14:24) that "ruach A'CHER'ES" means that he started indicating that he was with the spies but was really of a different mind, there might be an interesting allusion to the answer of the Paa'nei'ach Rozo. "Ossoh atzmo choleh" has the same numerical value as "A'CHER'ES."
Ch. 13, v. 27: "Va'y'sapru lo va'yomru bonu el ho'oretz" - It would seem sufficient if the verse would have said "Va'y'sapru bonu el ho'oretz." The Ben Ish Chai explains that the Holy Zohar in Idra Kadisha says that the term "dibur" connotes speaking loudly, while the term "amiroh" connotes speaking quietly. It is obvious that if the spies were bringing back a positive report they would have loudly announced it for all to hear. They specifically spoke only to Moshe, "lo," and also spoke quietly, "va'yomru," for all to notice, to immediately create an atmosphere of gloom and doom.
Ch. 14, v. 22: "Va'yaalu va'negev va'yovo ad Chevron" - The verse begins in the plural "Va'yaalu," as it refers to all the people sent to spy the land, but continues with "vo'yovo" in the singular form. Rashi (gemara Sotoh 34b) says that only Ko'leiv came to Chevron, as he wanted to pray at the M'oras Hamachpeiloh, the site of the burial place of our Patriarchs, that he not get caught in the snare of the spies who reacted negatively. Since he was praying to Hashem, what advantage is there in praying at the burial site of a holy person?
The Ra"n in his "droshos" drush #8 towards the beginning, in the paragraph starting with the word "V'nirreh li ode" explains this in a most fascinating manner. He says that when the Beis Hamikdosh was in existence it was the conduit through which prophecy and wisdom flowed, being sent on to the prophets and the sages. Once it was destroyed the greatest prophets and sages of each generation replaced the Beis Hamikdosh as this conduit, passing on these heavenly gifts to lesser prophets and sages. He adds that the Ramban at the end of parshas Eikev might have had this concept in mind with his saying there that the most elevated people of the generation become the "residence of Hashem's Holy Spirit."
The Ra"n goes on to say that not only do they serve in this capacity when they are alive, but even after their death their remains are still imbued with such sanctity that they still serve as a conduit for Hashem's downpour, "hashpo'oh," of good to this world. This is so because their bodies have already served in this capacity, and can continue do so even after their death as well. He says that it is therefore understood why Ko'leiv prayed at the M'oras Hamachpeiloh, to more powerfully invoke the blessings of Hashem upon himself so that he not fall prey to the machinations of the rest of the spies.
Regarding the question of is the prayer at the grave of the righteous a prayer to the departed souls that they should intervene in the heavens or not, is raised by numerous halachic authorities such as the Ba"ch Y.D. #217, Eliyohu Rabbo O.Ch. #581, Sha"ch Y.D. #179:15, responsa Mahara"m Schick O.Ch. #293, responsa Minchas Elozor #68.
Bez"H more will be offered on the subject of praying at the burial site of the righteous in parshas Chukas.
Ch. 14, v. 24: "V'avdi Cho'leiv" - Since Yehoshua was also not swayed by the rest of the spies, why wasn't he praised?
1) He deserved no praise because he was protected by Moshe's prayer in 13:16, as per the gemara Sotoh 34b. (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)
2) The praise of Ko'leiv ended with the reward of "v'zaro yorishenoh." Since Yehoshua would not have any children this could not be said about him, so no praise was said. (Paa'nei'ach Rozo)
3) Ko'leiv's reward of entering and inheriting the land was appropriate to mention, but Yehoshua's reward of taking over the leadership from Moshe when they would enter the land was inappropriate to mention at this time. (Ramban)
4) Praise was only given because of quieting the people's complaints. This was done by Kol'eiv only. (Ibn Ezra)
5) As per the words of the Radak on "ruach a'cher'es" mentioned in the next offering, Ko'leiv deserved special praise because he stood up against the spies even though he did not have the power of prophecy.
Ch. 14, v. 24: "V'avdi Cho'leiv ei'kev hoysoh ruach a'cher'es imo" - What does "ruach a'cher'es" mean?
1) He displayed one attitude at the beginning of his speaking but actually had a different intention in mind. (Rashi)
2) He was different from the rest of the spies. When contrasting one who behaves properly in comparison to one who behaves badly the term "acheir" or "a"che'res" is used, as we find by Sheis, a good person, being a replacement for Kayin, a bad person, "ki shos li Elokim zera ACHEIR" (Breishis 4:25). He was different from Kayin who killed him. The term "acheir" when mentioned in contrast with a "rosho" means a righteous person, and the reverse is true as well. This is the meaning of "elohim ACHEIRIM," they are evil as compared to Hashem. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)
3) In Koheles 3:21 the verse says, "Who knows the spirit, "ruach," of humans that ascends upward, and the spirit, "ruach," of the animal that descends downward to the earth?" This verse is discussing man only and refers to both the spiritual and the animalistic aspects of man. Most people are drawn to earthiness, after their animalistic "ruach." Ko'leiv was drawn after the a "ruach a'cher'es," that of the human ascending spirit. (Maharsh"o on the gemara Sotoh 34b)
4) There are righteous people for whom it is better to keep their distance from those who behave improperly, as it is within their nature to easily be influenced negatively. There are others for whom contact with that type of person does not affect adversely, and to the contrary, the righteous person is sometimes able to influence the person on a lower level to improve. Ko'leiv was of the latter sort, as we see, that he went along with ten spies who were quite negative about conquering Eretz Yisroel, and still stood his ground. His was a "different spirit" from that of the other type of righteous person. (Noam Elimelech)
5) Ko'leiv had a different level of "ruach" than Yehoshua had, meaning that Yehoshua had prophecy, called "ruach," as per Bmidbar 27:18, "Yehoshua bin Nun ish asher RUACH bo." Ko'leiv did not have prophecy and was still able to stand up against the spies. (Radak)
6) Ko'leiv was on side with Yehoshua when they set out on their mission. However, once in the land, he was persuaded by the spies to think negatively. He realized that he was swaying and therefore went to Chevron to pray at the gravesite of the Patriarchs that he not fall for their persuasion. He then strengthened himself and came back to the thinking of Yehoshua. He had a different attitude, "ruach a'cher'es," that of the spies, and was still able to turn around his thinking. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh and Malbim)
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