In this week’s parsha Hashem tells Moshe in reply to him asking if to send spies: "ùÑÀìÇç ìÀêÈ àÂðÈùÑÄéí"; Rashi explains, "Send forth men, if you please. I am not telling you what to do, you do however you please, [after the people requested "Let us send men ahead of us"]. Now, Moshe the greatest man on earth – "In My entire house he is the trusted one," How could Hashem cause him to make such a terrible mistakes; the trouble the meraglim caused, the disloyalty that it caused amongst the people, and the long stay in wilderness for forty years?!
A MASHAL – the Stolen Secret Wisdom…
To answer this question we will begin with a mashal. There was once a king who was blessed with great wisdom. Through his great wisdom he was able to discover the location of natural resources of gold, silver and precious gems in mountainous regions and in the sea. He also discovered many great secrets of wisdom which he wrote on scrolls and kept them locked away in his treasury. The king revealed his secrets only to his closest and most loyal servants.
One day, the enemies of the king, broke into the king’s treasury and copied the secrets of the king’s wisdom and the secrets of the state. The king was very upset about this and intended to conduct a war against them. However, his closest and most loyal servant approached him and said, "We all know of your great might, your majesty, as we have seen in your victories at previous wars. But why should you trouble yourself now with this war, exerting your warriors? Let me take care of this, and I promise I will deal it in the best way!"
The next day, the servant gathered the king's closest servants, and together with them made a wonderful plan. All of them will sneak in to the enemies' country, disguised as the inhabitants of that country. Then they should all pose as people with important professions in order for the people of the land to look up to them and honor them.
Returning the Important Theft…
Their plan was put into action. And so, they were able to make connections with the highest minister, the one that had all the stolen secrets of their king. One night, two of the spies caught him and tried to tie him up. He struggled with all his strength, but they fought back, beatings him up, they tied him up with strong ropes and brought him to their king, covered in blood and wounds. In their hands were the great stolen treasures, and most importantly, their stolen secrets with the man responsible for it.
The king, very impressed, asked in surprise "How have you done this?!" "Your majesty," replied the servant, "this is my gift to you, and I had to keep it a secret so that it won't lose its specialty. But, I must add that we risked ourselves very much in order to succeed in this mission, and we even lost many of our people who decided to stay behind and remain with the enemies. But it was all worth it in order to increase your glory in the world, to show your great power that you were able to invade the enemies' country and take back all that they stole from us. Through this mission we also found out who is truly loyal to you and who is not and remained with the enemies. And most importantly, we succeeded to bring their greatest minister with us and to discover all their secrets."
The Enemies Kill One Another…
The king immediately promoted the two servants that carried the whole plan out, and made them his highest generals. The enemies' minister upon learning how great the wisdom of the king was, accepted upon himself to become a loyal servant of the king, and the king appointed him to be a special minister in his own kingdom.
Upon finding out of all that happened, all the people from the enemies' country fell into great despair, for without this minister they were in great trouble. Out of their sorrow – as was their practice at times of mourning – they got up and stabbed each other killing one another, and then busied themselves with the burial of all the dead.
The king was very happy and impressed by his wonderful victory – with no battle; but was upset to find that most of his people stayed behind. Therefore, he went in to the enemies' country, caught all the traitors and sentenced them to cut off their tongues, a punishment for their revealing secrets to the enemies.
THE NIMSHAL – Separating the Weeds From Among the Nation…
The stolen treasures was Eretz Yisrael, which was taken over by the seven nation from our forefathers; and the stolen secrets were the ways of the Avos – which Iyov seemingly was their successor as we will soon see.
When Hashem decided to finally bring us back to His land, He did not reveal to Moshe His opinion if he should send spies ahead or not, rather, Hashem wanted Moshe to understand on his own – out of his great loyalty – what is Hashem's desire. It is clear that Moshe did Hashem's desire, even though it brought about a failure. This was intended to be this way in order get rid of the weeds in the field – the people that weren't truly loyal to Hashem. Otherwise, such people would cause much harm to the entire nation, as we see how much harm one Korach managed to cause, so then certainly those ten meraglim had to be separated from the holy nation.
Just as Moshe requested, "åÀðÄôÀìÄéðåÌ àÂðÄé åÀòÇîÌÀêÈ", "I and Your people will be made distinct from every people on the face of the earth" – which refers to the distinction between the Jews and other nations; now Moshe wanted to make a distinction within the Jewish nation itself, between the loyal and disloyal.
Did Moshe Make a Mistake?!
It was out of Moshe's greatness that he could know Hashem's true opinion, although it seemed like Hashem was not pleased with this deed. It is certain that Moshe made no mistake here, for if he would have, he would have been punished and rebuked for it; as when he hit the rock that Hashem said, "éÇòÇï ìÉà äÆàÁîÇðÀúÌÆí áÌÄé ìÀäÇ÷ÀãÌÄéùÑÅðÄé ìÀòÅéðÅé áÌÀðÅé éÄùÒÀøÈàÅì", "Because you did not believe in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the Children of Israel." Now, if over there, where Moshe was rebuked not for weakening the nation's faith but for not adding more [see upcoming issues]; then here, when sending the spies caused a big loss in the people's faith, if it was considered a mistake Hashem would undoubtedly rebuke Moshe for it.
Rather, this was Hashem's desire, to test the people and see who is truly loyal to Him. However, this gift had to come from Moshe, Hashem's most loyal servant, from his own mind. Now, since the nation did not withstand the trial, Hashem made the nisayon continue for forty years. "åÀæÈëÇøÀúÌÈ àÆú ëÌÈì äÇãÌÆøÆêÀ àÂùÑÆø äåÉìÄéëÀêÈ ä' àÁìÉ÷ÆéêÈ æÆä àÇøÀáÌÈòÄéí ùÑÈðÈä áÌÇîÌÄãÀáÌÈø ìÀîÇòÇï òÇðÌÉúÀêÈ ìÀðÇñÌÉúÀêÈ ìÈãÇòÇú àÆú àÂùÑÆø áÌÄìÀáÈáÀêÈ äÂúÄùÑÀîÉø îÄöÀåÉúÈå àÄí ìÉà" – "You shall remember the entire road on which Hashem, your God, led you these forty years in the Wilderness so as to afflict you, to test you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would observe his commandments or not."
Hashem tests a person all the time, to see if he remains loyal to Him even in times of sorrow, or does he rebel, G-d forbid. And Moshe Rabbeinu – the symbol of the righteous in every generation – calls out, "Whoever is for Hashem, join me."
Is Iyov Greater Than Our Forefathers?!
In Midrash Maaya Ganim it says that the meraglim brought Iyov back with them, beaten and covered with boils over his whole body, saying "åÀæÆä ôÌÄøÀéÈäÌ" – this is the fruit of the land of Canaan. Iyov served Hashem with his disciples in a different way from what Moshe taught us; he was a tormented man covered with blisters, and served Hashem with great fear and mournfulness. The meraglim were deceived to be impressed by Iyov's way in serving Hashem, they valued his avodas Hashem as if it was much greater than ours, which is awareness of Hashem and true appreciation of His kindnesses, and going in His Ways.
The Gemara (Bava Basra 15) says on the pasuk, "åÇéÀäÄé äÇéÌåÉí åÇéÌÈáÉàåÌ áÌÀðÅé äÈàÁìÉ÷Äéí ìÀäÄúÀéÇöÌÅá òÇì ä' åÇéÌÈáåÉà âÇí äÇùÌÒÈèÈï áÌÀúåÉëÈí..." – "It happened one day: The angels came to stand before Hashem, and the Satan too came among them. Hashem said to the Satan, from where have you come? The Satan answered Hashem and said, from wandering and walking about the earth." (Iyov 1:6). Says the Gemara, "The Satan said to Hashem, Master of the universe, I have gone to and fro throughout the entire land and I have not found anyone as faithful as Your servant Avraham, to whom You said "arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it to you." And even so, when he did not find a place to bury Sarah before purchasing a burial site for four hundred silver shekels, he did not find fault with Your ways [to complain that You haven't fulfilled the promise]. Hashem told the Satan, have you considered My servant Iyov, that there is none like him on earth…"
Iyov Fails the Satan's Test…
How could anyone ever say such a thing, that Iyov was greater than Avraham and even of Moshe – from the way Hashem said "There is none like him on earth." How could anyone be greater that Moshe whom Hashem said about, "In My entire house he is the trusted one," and many more expressions?!
Rather, this was the meraglim's mistake. Hashem tried deceiving the Satan that Iyov is the greatest, so that even the Satan will prove it wrong. Like the Gemara (ibid) says, "The Satan intended for the sake of Heaven [by torturing Iyov]" – because he wanted to prove that all Iyov's righteousness is only because he was not tested; but now after being tested, Iyov began to blaspheme and curse the name of Hashem. This proved how much Avraham was greater; after being tested with many trials he remained completely loyal to Hashem. "åÀäåÉöÅàúåÉ îÅàåÌø ëÌÇùÒÀãÌÄéí... åÌîÈöÈàúÈ àÆú ìÀáÈáåÉ ðÆàÁîÈï ìÀôÈðÆéêÈ" – After rescuing him from the furnace, where he was thrown into for being loyal to Hashem, Hashem found his heart to be truly loyal, never questioning Hashem's ways, even in his difficult times.
What's Doing With Avraham's Tree?…
When the nation requested that people be sent ahead to explore the land, Moshe sent with them his loyal disciple Yehoshua, and commanded him, "åÌøÀàÄéúÆí àÆú äÈàÈøÆõ îÇä äÄéà... äÂéÅùÑ áÌÈäÌ òÅõ àÄí àÇéÄï", "See the Land – how is it? … Are there trees in it or not?" – referring to the trees our forefathers planted. Moshe wanted them to see if there still are kindly people there like Avraham who planted trees for the passerby's convenience. Like the pasuk says, "He planted an eshel in Beer-sheva." And so did Yitzchak too, besides for digging up wells to water the thirsty passersby. "åÇéÌÅöÅà éÄöÀçÈ÷ ìÈùÒåÌçÇ áÌÇùÌÒÈãÆä", Rashbam explains that he went to see how his workers were doing with planting trees to feed the passersby.
The Enemies' Greatest Minister is Taken Captive…
When Yehoshua and Kalev went to fulfil their Rebbe's command and went to Avraham's house, they found Iyov there – the Canaanite's leader and advisor – sitting under Avraham's tree groaning in pain. When the rest of the meraglim saw this, they said, "It is not for no reason that he is in Avraham's house and under his tree; that's only because he is greater than Avraham, since he is suffering pain and Avraham did not."
Whereas, Yehoshua and Kalev did not fall for it; they remembered Moshe's command, "åÀäÄúÀçÇæÌÇ÷ÀúÌÆí åÌìÀ÷ÇçÀúÌÆí îÄôÌÀøÄé äÈàÈøÆõ", "You shall strengthen yourselves and take from the fruit of the Land" – referring to be strong and not feel inferior to Iyov and his men, but fight him and bring him captive – this greatest minister of our enemies – in order to convert him and bring him to our side. And this that he is in Avraham's dwelling place, is because he stole the place, not because he owned it.
The Meraglim's Heresy…
Yehoshua and Kalev knew that Iyov's ways are not accepted before Hashem; while the meraglim were very impressed by Iyov's way of serving Hashem, full of sorrow. His ways seemed to them much greater than Moshe's; thus they said, "We were like grasshoppers in our eyes" – that is, in greatness, in closeness to Hashem; they felt on a much lower level. They said to the Jewish nation upon their return, "There is no way we will succeed against them, they have the greatest righteous man, and with his merit we will never be able to conquer his people. Our only solution is to surrender to his authority." They sinned like the sinners of the golden calf who said about it, "This is your god, O Israel." So did the meraglim say about Iyov, "And this is its fruit" – this is who we want should lead us. As it is explained in the Gemara in Sotah (35a), that the meraglim were heretics. And Kalev scolded them, "But do not rebel against Hashem!"
Iyov who used to give advice to Pharaoh and the Canaanites against Israel, was now taken with the meraglim [forced by Kalev]. The Gemara (Sotah 35a) says that on that day Iyov died. How can we reconcile the two accounts? Rather, when Iyov was taken, the Canaanites thought he died and they mourned him; on that day there were many funerals there, because it was the custom of the gentile nations to kill one another when their leaders died, so to go along with them to the next world. As for the traitors – the meraglim that praised the foreigners' way in serving Hashem, they were punished with a terrible disease that their tongues grew until their belly and became infested with worms which then entered their stomachs through their belly.
Iyov Is Being Converted…
The Gemara (Bava Basra 15b) says, "Iyov was forgiving with his money." Therefore, "Hashem gave Iyov a taste of the World to Come." First, he wasn't decent and cursed towards Heaven; and when he was taken to the wilderness before Moshe, he merited to leave his bad ways and become righteous, and have a taste of olam haba, when he saw the revelation of the Shechina at the Mishkan. Then Moshe wrote the book of Iyov, to teach that anyone who humbles himself before Hashem and His loyal servants, can merit a complete repentance and true awareness of Hashem; and Hashem will make his end better than his beginning.