Keeping Yehoshua In Mind

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 19/6/2019

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לעילוי נשמת שמואל אביגדור בן יצחק מאיר


1) Rashi[1] tells us Moshe davened for Yehoshua to be saved from the plot of the Meraglim. Why did Moshe only daven for Yehoshua and not Kalev?[2]

2) Targum Yehonason Ben Uziel[3] says when Moshe saw his (Yehoshua’s) humility he called הושע- יהושע, adding the י (davening for him). What is the connection between these two?

  

The name כָּלֵב is related to כֶּלֶב (dog) which represents Chutzpa as we say הני כלבין דחציפין;[4] brazen dogs and והכלבים עזי נפש.[5] So, Kalev can stand up against the Meraglim. We also see this trait in Kalev’s son- Chur.[6] He stood up against the crowd by the Eigel and was thus killed.[7] With this, we can comprehend יגדל נא כח ה',[8] as they magnified Hashem by taking a stand for Him. Consequently, כח are the first letters ofכלב, חור?[9]

 

However, Yehoshua possesses a different quality. He is known as the משרת משה; servant of Moshe.[10] He is compared to the moon whereas Moshe is compared to the sun.[11] Moshe is the most humble man that lived. The outcome of this is, that Yehoshua being so devout to Moshe, now possesses the trait of humility on an extraordinary level.[12] Therefore, it is difficult for Yehoshua to go against the stream.

 

Yehoshua understood this. The name יהושע בין נון can also be understood in a different light. בין[13] is derived from בינה; understanding. נון  refers to the letter נ, which the Gemara[14] tells us symbolizes נפילה; downfall. Yehoshua understood that from the Meraglim he could have a נפילה. For this reason, Moshe davened for Yehoshua specially.
R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.


[1] 13:16. Kalev turning away from the plot of the Meraglim is alluded to in the name כלב בן יפונה (Bamidbar 13:6) as יפנה means to turn (away).

[2] One reason is because the wife of Kalev was Miriam who got Tzaraas for Loshon Hara. Rashi explains (13:2) that the sections of Miriam and the Meraglim are juxtaposed since she was stricken over speech and the spies saw what happened to her, yet didn’t take a lesson from it. Kalev therefore already had the first- hand experience of Loshon Hara from Miriam. So, Moshe didn’t have to daven for Kalev. Also see Shemiras Haloshon, Chelek 2, chapter 19, footnote.

[3] 13:16

[4] In Askinu Seudasa by Seuda Shlishis

[5] Yeshaya 56:11

[6] Shemos 17:10, Rashi

[7] Shemos 32:5, Rashi

[8] Bamidbar 14:17

[9] The expression goes, “Are you going to ride the wave or will you let it ride you?”

[10] Bamidbar 11:28

[11] Baba Basra 75a

[12] R’ Moshe Mikkotsi writes in his Sefer, the סמ"ג (לא תעשה 64. סמ"ג is an acronym for ספר מצות גדול. This Sefer, which was completed in 1247, deals with the 365 negative commandments and the 248 positive ones, separately discussing each of them according to the Talmud and the decisions of the Rabbis. It also contains much non-legal, moralistic teaching. The author lived in the first half of the thirteenth century. In 1240, he was one of the four rabbis who were required to defend the Talmud, in a public disputation in Paris.), that when he finished writing the לאוין for his Sefer, he had a dream where they told him שכחת את העיקר; you forgot the main one, השמר לך פן תשכח את ה'; take care so as not to forget Hashem- haughtiness!  (Devarim 8:11).

[13] The Kehilas Moshe explains why it says בִּן נוּן (Bin Nun) and not בֶּן נוּן (as it is by others such as Kalev Ben Yefuneh). The י added to הושע, making his name יהושע, came from שָׂרָה who originally was called שָׂרַי (Breishis 17:15). However, there are no Nekudos under that י. So, where did Moshe get those two Nekudos (two dots known as the Shva) under the י of יְהושע? Instead of בֶּן, it is בִּן, as it is missing two dots, since these were placed under the י of יהושע.

[14] Brachos 4b


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