Prominent in this week’s Sedra is the story of the Meraglim. Hashem told Moshe that Klal-Yisroel could send scouts to Eretz-Yisroel in order to report back on the land. Hashem included many aspects of the Land among the topics on which they could report: from agriculture to topography, and from population to military tactics.
The Meraglim (scouts) came back from what was then still called “Canaan” (soon to be Eretz-Yisroel) and reported back to the entire Am-Yisroel. They gave all sorts of pessimistic interpretations of what they saw and discouraged Am-Yisroel from wanting to continue on to the Promised Land. Of the 12 Scouts sent out ten participated in this negative report and two (Kalev, and Yehoshua) didn’t. Kalev and Yehoshua remained positive and encouraging throughout.
It is clear from the Pesukim that all of the Meraglim were people of stature, and were Tzadikim. Chazal and the Meforshim offer all sorts of interpretations as to how such good and righteous people could so gravely sin. What is clear is that they definitely didn’t lie regarding the actual facts of the Land; they erred only in their negative interpretation.
A simple observation of the situation begs the question: if twelve righteous people see and report the same facts, how can it be that 10 of these (a minyan) fail to report properly and the other two succeed in a fair reporting?
Eretz-Yisroel is the Land that Hashem promised us. Hashem guaranteed us that we would receive this Land from Him. As such Eretz-Yisroel was a given.
In any algebraic equation there are unknowns. If we simply try to work around the unknowns we will find ourselves playing an endless guessing game. However, if we focus on the given aspects of the equation we will be able to figure out the unknowns. Furthermore, if we focus on the given aspects, once we do come to a conclusion we can then double check it.
Hakadosh Baruch Hu had promised Klal-Yisroel Eretz-Yisroel. While the ten other Meraglim were busy making all sorts of equations as to how to interpret and report Eretz-Yisroel, Yehoshua and Kalev didn’t lose focus of the given – Hashem’ s promise that Eretz-Yisroel was about to be theirs.
A very warm Good Shabbos, Rabbi Y. Dov Krakowski