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Sefer Bamidbar — Shlach

Catastrophe in the Camp


Catastrophe in the Camp

Time passed super quickly. Although they walked by foot, HaShem “sped them up” and they managed to scout the entire land in only 40 days, a task that would usually take over 100 days! It was now time for the spies to head back home. All Bnei Yisrael gathered together, anxiously awaiting to hear their report.

They first turned to Moshe. “We have accomplished our mission. We came to the land you sent us to, and indeed it is a fruitful land. Look at these fruits.”

The spies showed Moshe the fruits and it was soooo big that it was hard not to notice them! Suddenly, one of the spies raised his voice for all to hear, “Indeed, it is an incredible land, a land flowing with milk and honey!”

“True!” another spy piped up. “EFES – BUT what kind of people can live in a place where such unbelievably huge fruit grows?”

And yet another spy cried out, “How can ordinary people survive there? It’s a land of giants! We saw them with our own eyes! We were like grasshoppers compared to them!”

The people stood silent and wide-eyed with fear as the spies continued their ranting and raving, “And let us tell you a little about the cities we saw. They are walled cities, heavily fortified. But the people are very strong. There are giants all over the place!”

“How can we possibly win a war against these nations? No matter where we enter the land, we’ll meet a mighty enemy – Amalek lives in the south! The Chiti, Yevusi and Amori live by the mountain, and the Canaani live by the sea.”

“Clearly, if we fight them, we are doomed!”

The spies had done something very wrong. They had spoken Lashon Hara (evil gossip) – about the land of Israel! Panic filled the air! The mere mention of the name Amalek, sent chills down the spines of the people!

They were in an uproar. They had lost all confidence in HaShem’s promises. They all began yelling and crying and shouting and wailing.

“Oh no… not Amalek!”

“What kind of mess are we getting ourselves into?!”


Shazak insight


Mr. Pesach Programmervitz applies for the programming job at Shazoogle, the popular Parsha company. Mr. Programmervitz thinks he is the perfect one for the job. After many interviews, the verdict is in. He is called to the office is told by the Vice President of the company, “Pesach, we were really impressed with you, and we would love to have you work for our company, but…”

That one word – but – makes it clear that Pesach will not get the job. It really doesn’t make a difference what excuse comes after the word “but” – it’s a lost cause.

This one word – Efes – meaning “but” was the sin of the spies. They really didn’t lie. They reported what they saw. Yet they added that infamous “but” – and their conclusion was “we cannot conquer the land.” Nobody asked them for their opinion. And that was their sin.

BTW: The common Hebrew word for “but,” is “Aval,” but here the Torah uses the uncommon word – Efes, which has another meaning – Efes means “zero.” Get it? The spies lost by scoring zero! Nobody wins with a score of zero (not even the Cubs).

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Sefer Bamidbar — Shlach