Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 13, v. 2: "Ish echod ish echod" - The gemara Yerushalmi Sotoh says that Rabbi Akiva derives from these words that two people were sent from each tribe, totaling 24. According to this opinion the derivation that a congregation is made up of ten people would be derived from somewhere else. Could we still derive that a minyan is ten people from here even according to Rabbi Akiva?

2) Ch. 13, v. 16: "L'Hoshei'a ben Nun Yehoshua" - Although some commentators say that Hoshei'a's name was changed to Yehoshua earlier than just prior to the sending of the spies, from this point on we find the Torah always calling him Yehoshua. However, there is one exception. This is in Dvorim 32:44. Why?

3) Ch. 14, v. 24: "V'avdi Cho'leiv ei'kev hoysoh ruach a'cher'es imo" - What does "ruach a'cher'es" mean?

4) Ch. 14, v. 39: "Va'y'da'beir Moshe ...... va'yisablu ho'om m'ode" - It seems that the nation truly repented. Why then did Hashem not accept their repentance and allow them to live and enter Eretz Yisroel?

5) Ch. 15, v. 32: "M'kosheish eitzim" - What act, "av m'lochoh," of desecration of Shabbos did he perpetrate?



1) Some say that even according to Rabbi Akiva it can be derived from here, as only one person per tribe was specifically named.

2) Another approach is that Rabbi Akiva does not literally mean two people from each tribe, but rather that for each tribe the soul of one of the bnei Yaakov (based on the writings of the Ari z"l) accompanied the present-day leader of that tribe.


The Rebbi Reb Heshel of Cracow in his Sefer Chanukas HaTorah answers that the gemara Sanhedrin 107a says that when Sorai's name was changed to Soroh, the letter Yud complained to Hashem that it was not in use. Hashem responded that not only would it be used, but previously it was at the end of a name and now it would be at the beginning of Hoshei'a's name which will be changed to Yehoshua. Sorai was eighty-nine years old when her name was changed to Soroh and she lived a total of 127 years, hence the Yud was inactive for 38 years. Hoshei'a's name was changed to Yehoshua by Moshe Rabbeinu at the time when the "m'raglim," spies, were sent (B'midbar 13:16). This took place in the second year that the bnei Yisroel were in the desert. Now that we're in the end of the fortieth year in the desert, the Yud has been in use for thirty-eight years, so there is no further need to call him Yehoshua. A question can be raised on this: Why do we find the name Yehoshua later in in Dvorim (34:9)? Please let me know if you have an answer.


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 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" from Yehoshua's, 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)


1) The Holy Baal Shem Tov answers that we see from the next verse that they did not truly repent. It says, "asher OMAR Hashem ki chotonu," indicating that they did not feel that they sinned, only that Hashem SAID that we sinned.

2) The Ntzi"v in Haa'meik Dovor answers that although they repented, it was not a complete teshuvoh since they did not repent under the same circumstances. They saw the miraculous swift retribution meted out to the spies who died a horrible death. This is not a "teshuvas hamishkol."

#5There are three opinions mentioned in the gemara Shabbos 96b as to exactly which act of Shabbos desecration had taken place, either transporting wood from domain to domain, or cutting wood, or assembling wood in the location of its growth.



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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