Explanation on Chiddushei HaRim on parashas Shelach

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    Sholom U`Beracha! I’m new here on this forum, I was wondering if I could ask the following question.

    The Chiddushei HaRim quotes the posuk in parashas Shelach, in where it says (Bamidbar 13:20):

    […] Whether there are trees in it, or not

    The Chiddushei HaRim explains that the trees do not refer to physical/normal trees, but to the Eitz Hachaim- to the tree of life. He says that “whether there are trees in it, or not” means “do you feel the wisdom of Torah pulsating through the environment of Eretz Yisroel, or not. The Kedushas Levi (ad loc.) also shares this idea. The Kedushas Levi writes:

    “G-d’s i.e. Moses’ purpose in agreeing to the ‎people’s request to spy out the land of Canaan was to sublimate ‎what was a material quest into becoming a spiritual quest and to ‎thereby convert it into an act of worship”.

    I have trouble understanding this Chiddushei HaRim. Why would Moshe Rabbeinu need to find out if Torah’s wisdom was felt in the environment of Eretz Yisroel? Especially, since the The Sfas Emes, in his commentary on parashas Shelach, seems to explain that because the Canaanites still lived in the land of Yisrael at the time when the meraglim entered, the meraglim (spies) were not able to “feel” the Torah since there was a sort of a “husk” that was hiding it.

    Are there any sources that explain this Chiddushei HaRim?

    Thank you in advance!

    Chiddushei HaRim: https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=21531&st=%D7%94%D6%B2%D7%99%D6%B5%D6%BD%D7%A9%D7%81%D6%BE%D7%91%D6%BC%D6%B8%D6%A5%D7%94%D6%BC%20%D7%A2%D6%B5%D7%A5%D6%99&pgnum=214&hilite=


    My own thoughts:
    The Chidushei HaRim and the Sfas Emes do not contradict. The Chidushe HaRim is explaining what Moshe wanted to find out and the Sfas Emes explains what he ended up finding. I think Pshat in the Chidushei HaRim is that Moshe wanted to know if all of the effort that Avraham Avinu put into teaching all the inhabitants of the land about HKBH was passed down to future generations (which would make a war against such righteous people difficult to win since they had the zchus of Avraham Avinu’s teaching) or if they had abandoned what Avraham Avinu spread in that land all those centuries ago.

    As for the Kedushas Levi, I do not think he is saying the same thing. He is saying that although the Jews wanted to explore Israel for its physical beauty and resources, Moshe wanted the spies (and eventually all of the Yiddin) to feel spiritually connected to the land that Hashem promised them and hoped that the spies will feel the Mitzvah of Kum Vehithalech Baartez when they got to Israel thereby trying to convert the spies’ physical desire into a spiritual one.


    That’s a really nice Chiddush. Are you aware of any sources that describe this? As for the Sfas Emes, did the presence of the Canaanites really serve as a “husk” around the wisdom of Torah in the land of Israel?

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