14י״ד
1 א

וַתִּשָּׂא֙ כָּל־הָ֣עֵדָ֔ה וַֽיִּתְּנ֖וּ אֶת־קוֹלָ֑ם וַיִּבְכּ֥וּ הָעָ֖ם בַּלַּ֥יְלָה הַהֽוּא׃

The whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night.

2 ב

וַיִּלֹּ֙נוּ֙ עַל־מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְעַֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן כֹּ֖ל בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַֽיֹּאמְר֨וּ אֲלֵהֶ֜ם כָּל־הָעֵדָ֗ה לוּ־מַ֙תְנוּ֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם א֛וֹ בַּמִּדְבָּ֥ר הַזֶּ֖ה לוּ־מָֽתְנוּ׃

All the Israelites railed against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in the land of Egypt,” the whole community shouted at them, “or if only we might die in this wilderness!

3 ג

וְלָמָ֣ה יְ֠הוָה מֵבִ֨יא אֹתָ֜נוּ אֶל־הָאָ֤רֶץ הַזֹּאת֙ לִנְפֹּ֣ל בַּחֶ֔רֶב נָשֵׁ֥ינוּ וְטַפֵּ֖נוּ יִהְי֣וּ לָבַ֑ז הֲל֧וֹא ט֦וֹב לָ֖נוּ שׁ֥וּב מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃

Why is the LORD taking us to that land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be carried off! It would be better for us to go back to Egypt!”

4 ד

וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ אִ֣ישׁ אֶל־אָחִ֑יו נִתְּנָ֥ה רֹ֖אשׁ וְנָשׁ֥וּבָה מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃

And they said to one another, “Let us head back for Egypt.”

5 ה

וַיִּפֹּ֥ל מֹשֶׁ֛ה וְאַהֲרֹ֖ן עַל־פְּנֵיהֶ֑ם לִפְנֵ֕י כָּל־קְהַ֥ל עֲדַ֖ת בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembled congregation of the Israelites.

6 ו

וִיהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֗וּן וְכָלֵב֙ בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּ֔ה מִן־הַתָּרִ֖ים אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ קָרְע֖וּ בִּגְדֵיהֶֽם׃

And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, of those who had scouted the land, rent their clothes

7 ז

וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ אֶל־כָּל־עֲדַ֥ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָבַ֤רְנוּ בָהּ֙ לָת֣וּר אֹתָ֔הּ טוֹבָ֥ה הָאָ֖רֶץ מְאֹ֥ד מְאֹֽד׃

and exhorted the whole Israelite community: “The land that we traversed and scouted is an exceedingly good land.

8 ח

אִם־חָפֵ֥ץ בָּ֙נוּ֙ יְהוָ֔ה וְהֵבִ֤יא אֹתָ֙נוּ֙ אֶל־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֔את וּנְתָנָ֖הּ לָ֑נוּ אֶ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־הִ֛וא זָבַ֥ת חָלָ֖ב וּדְבָֽשׁ׃

If the LORD is pleased with us, He will bring us into that land, a land that flows with milk and honey, and give it to us;

9 ט

אַ֣ךְ בַּֽיהוָה֮ אַל־תִּמְרֹדוּ֒ וְאַתֶּ֗ם אַל־תִּֽירְאוּ֙ אֶת־עַ֣ם הָאָ֔רֶץ כִּ֥י לַחְמֵ֖נוּ הֵ֑ם סָ֣ר צִלָּ֧ם מֵעֲלֵיהֶ֛ם וַֽיהוָ֥ה אִתָּ֖נוּ אַל־תִּירָאֻֽם׃

only you must not rebel against the LORD. Have no fear then of the people of the country, for they are our prey: their protection has departed from them, but the LORD is with us. Have no fear of them!”

10 י

וַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ כָּל־הָ֣עֵדָ֔ה לִרְגּ֥וֹם אֹתָ֖ם בָּאֲבָנִ֑ים וּכְב֣וֹד יְהוָ֗ה נִרְאָה֙ בְּאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד אֶֽל־כָּל־בְּנֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (פ)

As the whole community threatened to pelt them with stones, the Presence of the LORD appeared in the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.

11 יא

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה עַד־אָ֥נָה יְנַאֲצֻ֖נִי הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה וְעַד־אָ֙נָה֙ לֹא־יַאֲמִ֣ינוּ בִ֔י בְּכֹל֙ הָֽאֹת֔וֹת אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשִׂ֖יתִי בְּקִרְבּֽוֹ׃

And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me, and how long will they have no faith in Me despite all the signs that I have performed in their midst?

12 יב

אַכֶּ֥נּוּ בַדֶּ֖בֶר וְאוֹרִשֶׁ֑נּוּ וְאֶֽעֱשֶׂה֙ אֹֽתְךָ֔ לְגוֹי־גָּד֥וֹל וְעָצ֖וּם מִמֶּֽנּוּ׃

I will strike them with pestilence and disown them, and I will make of you a nation far more numerous than they!”

13 יג

וַיֹּ֥אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֖ה אֶל־יְהוָ֑ה וְשָׁמְע֣וּ מִצְרַ֔יִם כִּֽי־הֶעֱלִ֧יתָ בְכֹחֲךָ֛ אֶת־הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּ֖ה מִקִּרְבּֽוֹ׃

But Moses said to the LORD, “When the Egyptians, from whose midst You brought up this people in Your might, hear the news,

14 יד

וְאָמְר֗וּ אֶל־יוֹשֵׁב֮ הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּאת֒ שָֽׁמְעוּ֙ כִּֽי־אַתָּ֣ה יְהוָ֔ה בְּקֶ֖רֶב הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה אֲשֶׁר־עַ֨יִן בְּעַ֜יִן נִרְאָ֣ה ׀ אַתָּ֣ה יְהוָ֗ה וַעֲנָֽנְךָ֙ עֹמֵ֣ד עֲלֵהֶ֔ם וּבְעַמֻּ֣ד עָנָ֗ן אַתָּ֨ה הֹלֵ֤ךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם֙ יוֹמָ֔ם וּבְעַמּ֥וּד אֵ֖שׁ לָֽיְלָה׃

they will tell it to the inhabitants of that land. Now they have heard that You, O LORD, are in the midst of this people; that You, O LORD, appear in plain sight when Your cloud rests over them and when You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.

15 טו

וְהֵמַתָּ֛ה אֶת־הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּ֖ה כְּאִ֣ישׁ אֶחָ֑ד וְאָֽמְרוּ֙ הַגּוֹיִ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־שָׁמְע֥וּ אֶֽת־שִׁמְעֲךָ֖ לֵאמֹֽר׃

If then You slay this people to a man, the nations who have heard Your fame will say,

16 טז

מִבִּלְתִּ֞י יְכֹ֣לֶת יְהוָ֗ה לְהָבִיא֙ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֣ע לָהֶ֑ם וַיִּשְׁחָטֵ֖ם בַּמִּדְבָּֽר׃

‘It must be because the LORD was powerless to bring that people into the land He had promised them on oath that He slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

17 יז

וְעַתָּ֕ה יִגְדַּל־נָ֖א כֹּ֣חַ אֲדֹנָ֑י כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּ֖רְתָּ לֵאמֹֽר׃

Therefore, I pray, let my Lord’s forbearance be great, as You have declared, saying,

18 יח

יְהוָ֗ה אֶ֤רֶךְ אַפַּ֙יִם֙ וְרַב־חֶ֔סֶד נֹשֵׂ֥א עָוֺ֖ן וָפָ֑שַׁע וְנַקֵּה֙ לֹ֣א יְנַקֶּ֔ה פֹּקֵ֞ד עֲוֺ֤ן אָבוֹת֙ עַל־בָּנִ֔ים עַל־שִׁלֵּשִׁ֖ים וְעַל־רִבֵּעִֽים׃

‘The LORD! slow to anger and abounding in kindness; forgiving iniquity and transgression; yet not remitting all punishment, but visiting the iniquity of fathers upon children, upon the third and fourth generations.’

19 יט

סְלַֽח־נָ֗א לַעֲוֺ֛ן הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּ֖ה כְּגֹ֣דֶל חַסְדֶּ֑ךָ וְכַאֲשֶׁ֤ר נָשָׂ֙אתָה֙ לָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה מִמִּצְרַ֖יִם וְעַד־הֵֽנָּה׃

Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to Your great kindness, as You have forgiven this people ever since Egypt.”

20 כ

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֔ה סָלַ֖חְתִּי כִּדְבָרֶֽךָ׃

And the LORD said, “I pardon, as you have asked.

21 כא

וְאוּלָ֖ם חַי־אָ֑נִי וְיִמָּלֵ֥א כְבוֹד־יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

Nevertheless, as I live and as the LORD’s Presence fills the whole world,

22 כב

כִּ֣י כָל־הָאֲנָשִׁ֗ים הָרֹאִ֤ים אֶת־כְּבֹדִי֙ וְאֶת־אֹ֣תֹתַ֔י אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂ֥יתִי בְמִצְרַ֖יִם וּבַמִּדְבָּ֑ר וַיְנַסּ֣וּ אֹתִ֗י זֶ֚ה עֶ֣שֶׂר פְּעָמִ֔ים וְלֹ֥א שָׁמְע֖וּ בְּקוֹלִֽי׃

none of the men who have seen My Presence and the signs that I have performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and who have tried Me these many times and have disobeyed Me,

23 כג

אִם־יִרְאוּ֙ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֖עְתִּי לַאֲבֹתָ֑ם וְכָל־מְנַאֲצַ֖י לֹ֥א יִרְאֽוּהָ׃

shall see the land that I promised on oath to their fathers; none of those who spurn Me shall see it.

24 כד

וְעַבְדִּ֣י כָלֵ֗ב עֵ֣קֶב הָֽיְתָ֞ה ר֤וּחַ אַחֶ֙רֶת֙ עִמּ֔וֹ וַיְמַלֵּ֖א אַחֲרָ֑י וַהֲבִֽיאֹתִ֗יו אֶל־הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֣א שָׁ֔מָּה וְזַרְע֖וֹ יוֹרִשֶֽׁנָּה׃

But My servant Caleb, because he was imbued with a different spirit and remained loyal to Me—him will I bring into the land that he entered, and his offspring shall hold it as a possession.

25 כה

וְהָֽעֲמָלֵקִ֥י וְהַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י יוֹשֵׁ֣ב בָּעֵ֑מֶק מָחָ֗ר פְּנ֨וּ וּסְע֥וּ לָכֶ֛ם הַמִּדְבָּ֖ר דֶּ֥רֶךְ יַם־סֽוּף׃ (פ)

Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites occupy the valleys. Start out, then, tomorrow and march into the wilderness by way of the Sea of Reeds.”

26 כו

וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֖ן לֵאמֹֽר׃

The LORD spoke further to Moses and Aaron,

27 כז

עַד־מָתַ֗י לָעֵדָ֤ה הָֽרָעָה֙ הַזֹּ֔את אֲשֶׁ֛ר הֵ֥מָּה מַלִּינִ֖ים עָלָ֑י אֶת־תְּלֻנּ֞וֹת בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אֲשֶׁ֨ר הֵ֧מָּה מַלִּינִ֛ים עָלַ֖י שָׁמָֽעְתִּי׃

“How much longer shall that wicked community keep muttering against Me? Very well, I have heeded the incessant muttering of the Israelites against Me.

28 כח

אֱמֹ֣ר אֲלֵהֶ֗ם חַי־אָ֙נִי֙ נְאֻם־יְהוָ֔ה אִם־לֹ֕א כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּרְתֶּ֖ם בְּאָזְנָ֑י כֵּ֖ן אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה לָכֶֽם׃

Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘I will do to you just as you have urged Me.

29 כט

בַּמִּדְבָּ֣ר הַ֠זֶּה יִפְּל֨וּ פִגְרֵיכֶ֜ם וְכָל־פְּקֻדֵיכֶם֙ לְכָל־מִסְפַּרְכֶ֔ם מִבֶּ֛ן עֶשְׂרִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה וָמָ֑עְלָה אֲשֶׁ֥ר הֲלִֽינֹתֶ֖ם עָלָֽי׃

In this very wilderness shall your carcasses drop. Of all of you who were recorded in your various lists from the age of twenty years up, you who have muttered against Me,

30 ל

אִם־אַתֶּם֙ תָּבֹ֣אוּ אֶל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֤ר נָשָׂ֙אתִי֙ אֶת־יָדִ֔י לְשַׁכֵּ֥ן אֶתְכֶ֖ם בָּ֑הּ כִּ֚י אִם־כָּלֵ֣ב בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּ֔ה וִיהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ בִּן־נֽוּן׃

not one shall enter the land in which I swore to settle you—save Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

31 לא

וְטַ֨פְּכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲמַרְתֶּ֖ם לָבַ֣ז יִהְיֶ֑ה וְהֵבֵיאתִ֣י אֹתָ֔ם וְיָֽדְעוּ֙ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר מְאַסְתֶּ֖ם בָּֽהּ׃

Your children who, you said, would be carried off—these will I allow to enter; they shall know the land that you have rejected.

32 לב

וּפִגְרֵיכֶ֖ם אַתֶּ֑ם יִפְּל֖וּ בַּמִּדְבָּ֥ר הַזֶּֽה׃

But your carcasses shall drop in this wilderness,

33 לג

וּ֠בְנֵיכֶם יִהְי֨וּ רֹעִ֤ים בַּמִּדְבָּר֙ אַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה וְנָשְׂא֖וּ אֶת־זְנוּתֵיכֶ֑ם עַד־תֹּ֥ם פִּגְרֵיכֶ֖ם בַּמִּדְבָּֽר׃

while your children roam the wilderness for forty years, suffering for your faithlessness, until the last of your carcasses is down in the wilderness.

34 לד

בְּמִסְפַּ֨ר הַיָּמִ֜ים אֲשֶׁר־תַּרְתֶּ֣ם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ֮ אַרְבָּעִ֣ים יוֹם֒ י֣וֹם לַשָּׁנָ֞ה י֣וֹם לַשָּׁנָ֗ה תִּשְׂאוּ֙ אֶת־עֲוֺנֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם אַרְבָּעִ֖ים שָׁנָ֑ה וִֽידַעְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־תְּנוּאָתִֽי׃

You shall bear your punishment for forty years, corresponding to the number of days—forty days—that you scouted the land: a year for each day. Thus you shall know what it means to thwart Me.

35 לה

אֲנִ֣י יְהוָה֮ דִּבַּרְתִּי֒ אִם־לֹ֣א ׀ זֹ֣את אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֗ה לְכָל־הָעֵדָ֤ה הָֽרָעָה֙ הַזֹּ֔את הַנּוֹעָדִ֖ים עָלָ֑י בַּמִּדְבָּ֥ר הַזֶּ֛ה יִתַּ֖מּוּ וְשָׁ֥ם יָמֻֽתוּ׃

I the LORD have spoken: Thus will I do to all that wicked band that has banded together against Me: in this very wilderness they shall die to the last man.’”

36 לו

וְהָ֣אֲנָשִׁ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַ֥ח מֹשֶׁ֖ה לָת֣וּר אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ וַיָּשֻׁ֗בוּ וילונו [וַיַּלִּ֤ינוּ] עָלָיו֙ אֶת־כָּל־הָ֣עֵדָ֔ה לְהוֹצִ֥יא דִבָּ֖ה עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

As for the men whom Moses sent to scout the land, those who came back and caused the whole community to mutter against him by spreading calumnies about the land—

37 לז

וַיָּמֻ֙תוּ֙ הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים מוֹצִאֵ֥י דִבַּת־הָאָ֖רֶץ רָעָ֑ה בַּמַּגֵּפָ֖ה לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃

those who spread such calumnies about the land died of plague, by the will of the LORD.

38 לח

וִיהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ בִּן־נ֔וּן וְכָלֵ֖ב בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּ֑ה חָיוּ֙ מִן־הָאֲנָשִׁ֣ים הָהֵ֔ם הַֽהֹלְכִ֖ים לָת֥וּר אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

Of those men who had gone to scout the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.

39 לט

וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה אֶֽל־כָּל־בְּנֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיִּֽתְאַבְּל֥וּ הָעָ֖ם מְאֹֽד׃

When Moses repeated these words to all the Israelites, the people were overcome by grief.

40 מ

וַיַּשְׁכִּ֣מוּ בַבֹּ֔קֶר וַיַּֽעֲל֥וּ אֶל־רֹאשׁ־הָהָ֖ר לֵאמֹ֑ר הִנֶּ֗נּוּ וְעָלִ֛ינוּ אֶל־הַמָּק֛וֹם אֲשֶׁר־אָמַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה כִּ֥י חָטָֽאנוּ׃

Early next morning they set out toward the crest of the hill country, saying, “We are prepared to go up to the place that the LORD has spoken of, for we were wrong.”

41 מא

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֔ה לָ֥מָּה זֶּ֛ה אַתֶּ֥ם עֹבְרִ֖ים אֶת־פִּ֣י יְהוָ֑ה וְהִ֖וא לֹ֥א תִצְלָֽח׃

But Moses said, “Why do you transgress the LORD’s command? This will not succeed.

42 מב

אַֽל־תַּעֲל֔וּ כִּ֛י אֵ֥ין יְהוָ֖ה בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וְלֹא֙ תִּנָּ֣גְפ֔וּ לִפְנֵ֖י אֹיְבֵיכֶֽם׃

Do not go up, lest you be routed by your enemies, for the LORD is not in your midst.

43 מג

כִּי֩ הָעֲמָלֵקִ֨י וְהַכְּנַעֲנִ֥י שָׁם֙ לִפְנֵיכֶ֔ם וּנְפַלְתֶּ֖ם בֶּחָ֑רֶב כִּֽי־עַל־כֵּ֤ן שַׁבְתֶּם֙ מֵאַחֲרֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה וְלֹא־יִהְיֶ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה עִמָּכֶֽם׃

For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there to face you, and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned from following the LORD and the LORD will not be with you.”

44 מד

וַיַּעְפִּ֕לוּ לַעֲל֖וֹת אֶל־רֹ֣אשׁ הָהָ֑ר וַאֲר֤וֹן בְּרִית־יְהוָה֙ וּמֹשֶׁ֔ה לֹא־מָ֖שׁוּ מִקֶּ֥רֶב הַֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃

Yet defiantly they marched toward the crest of the hill country, though neither the LORD’s Ark of the Covenant nor Moses stirred from the camp.

45 מה

וַיֵּ֤רֶד הָעֲמָלֵקִי֙ וְהַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֔י הַיֹּשֵׁ֖ב בָּהָ֣ר הַה֑וּא וַיַּכּ֥וּם וַֽיַּכְּת֖וּם עַד־הַֽחָרְמָֽה׃ (פ)

And the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that hill country came down and dealt them a shattering blow at Hormah.

Chapter 16ט״ז
1 א

הֲלָכָה מַהוּ לִפְרשׁ לַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל קֹדֶם לַשַּׁבָּת שְׁלשָׁה יָמִים, שָׁנוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ (ספרי שופטים רג): אֵין מַפְלִיגִין בִּסְּפִינָה בַּיָּם הַגָּדוֹל שְׁלשָׁה יָמִים קֹדֶם לַשַּׁבָּת בִּזְּמַן שֶׁהוּא הוֹלֵךְ לְמָקוֹם רָחוֹק, אֲבָל אִם מְבַקֵּשׁ לִפְרשׁ כְּמוֹ מִצּוֹר לְצִידוֹן, מֻתָּר לוֹ לִפְרשׁ אֲפִלּוּ בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַדָּבָר יָדוּעַ שֶׁהוּא יָכוֹל לֵילֵךְ מִבְּעוֹד יוֹם, בִּשְׁלִיחַ הָרְשׁוּת, וְאִם הָיָה שְׁלִיחַ מִצְוָה, מֻתָּר לוֹ לִפְרשׁ בְּכָל יוֹם שֶׁיִּרְצֶה, לָמָּה, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא שְׁלִיחַ מִצְוָה וּשְׁלִיחַ מִצְוָה דּוֹחֶה אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת, וְכֵן אַתְּ מוֹצֵא בְּסֻכָּה שֶׁשָּׁנִינוּ שֶׁשְּׁלוּחֵי מִצְוָה פְּטוּרִין מִן הַסֻּכָּה, שֶׁאֵין לְךָ חָבִיב לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כְּשָׁלִיחַ שֶׁמִּשְׁתַּלֵּחַ לַעֲשׂוֹת מִצְוָה וְנוֹתֵן נַפְשׁוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּצְלַח בִּשְׁלִיחוּתוֹ, וְאֵין לְךָ בְּנֵי אָדָם שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּלְּחוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת מִצְוָה וְנוֹתְנִין נַפְשָׁם לְהַצְלִיחַ בִּשְׁלִיחוּתָן כְּאוֹתָם שְׁנַיִם שֶׁשָּׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן נוּן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע ב, א): וַיִּשְׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן נוּן מִן הַשִּׁטִּים שְׁנַיִם, מִי הָיוּ, שָׁנוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ אֵלּוּ פִּינְחָס וְכָלֵב, וְהָלְכוּ וְנָתְנוּ נַפְשָׁם וְהִצְלִיחוּ בִּשְׁלִיחוּתָן. מַהוּ (יהושע ב, א): חֶרֶשׁ, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁעָשׂוּ עַצְמָן קַדָּרִין וְהָיוּ צוֹוְחִין הֲרֵי קְדֵרוֹת, מִי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה יָבוֹא וְיִקְנֶה, כָּל כָּךְ לָמָּה, שֶׁלֹא יַרְגִּישׁ בָּהֶן אָדָם, קְרֵי בֵּיהּ חֶרֶשׂ, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹא יֹאמְרוּ בְּנֵי אָדָם שֶׁהֵן מְרַגְּלִים. (יהושע ב, א): וַיֵּלְכוּ וַיָּבֹאוּ בֵּית אִשָּׁה זוֹנָה וּשְׁמָהּ רָחָב וַיִּשְׁכְּבוּ שָׁמָּה, עָמְדָה וְקִבְּלָן, וְהִרְגִּישׁ בָּהֶן מֶלֶךְ יְרִיחוֹ וְשָׁמַע שֶׁבָּאוּ לַחְפֹּר אֶת הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע ב, ב): וַיֵּאָמַר לְמֶלֶךְ יְרִיחוֹ לֵאמֹר, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהָלְכוּ לְבַקְּשָׁם, מֶה עָשְׂתָה רָחָב, נָטְלָה אוֹתָם לְהַטְמִינָם, אָמַר לָהּ פִּינְחָס אֲנִי כֹהֵן וְהַכֹּהֲנִים נִמְשְׁלוּ לְמַלְאָכִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלאכי ב, ז): כִּי שִׂפְתֵי כֹהֵן יִשְׁמְרוּ דַעַת וְתוֹרָה יְבַקְּשׁוּ מִפִּיהוּ כִּי מַלְאַךְ ה' צְבָאוֹת הוּא, וְהַמַּלְאָךְ מְבַקֵּשׁ נִרְאֶה מְבַקֵּשׁ אֵינוֹ נִרְאֶה. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁנִּמְשְׁלוּ הַנְּבִיאִים כְּמַלְאָכִים, שֶׁכֵּן הוּא אוֹמֵר בְּמשֶׁה (במדבר כ, טז): וַיִּשְׁלַח מַלְאָךְ וַיֹּצִאֵנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם, וַהֲלוֹא משֶׁה הָיָה, אֶלָּא מִכָּאן שֶׁנִּמְשְׁלוּ הַנְּבִיאִים כְּמַלְאָכִים. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (שופטים ב, א): וַיַּעַל מַלְאַךְ ה' מִן הַגִּלְגָּל אֶל הַבֹּכִים וַיֹּאמֶר אַעֲלֶה אֶתְכֶם מִמִּצְרַיִם, וַהֲלוֹא פִּינְחָס הָיָה, אֶלָּא מִיכָּן שֶׁנִּקְרְאוּ הַנְּבִיאִים מַלְאָכִים, לְפִיכָךְ אָמַר לָהּ פִּינְחָס אֲנִי כֹהֵן וְאֵינִי צָרִיךְ לְהַטְמִין, הַטְמִינִי לְכָלֵב חֲבֵרִי וַאֲנִי עוֹמֵד לִפְנֵיהֶן וְאֵינָן רוֹאִין אוֹתִי, וְכֵן עָשְׂתָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע ב, ד): וַתִּקַּח הָאִשָּׁה אֶת שְׁנֵי הָאֲנָשִׁים וַתִּצְפְּנֵם אֵין כְּתִיב כָּאן, אֶלָּא (יהושע ב, ד): וַתִּצְפְּנוֹ, הֲרֵי שֶׁלֹא הִטְמִינָה לְפִינְחָס אֶלָּא לְכָלֵב, לְלַמֶּדְךָ כַּמָּה נָתְנוּ שְׁנֵי צַדִּיקִים אֵלּוּ נַפְשָׁם לַעֲשׂוֹת שְׁלִיחוּתָם. אֲבָל שְׁלוּחִים שֶׁשָּׁלַח משֶׁה הָיוּ רְשָׁעִים, מִנַּיִן, מִמַּה שֶּׁקָּרִינוּ בָּעִנְיָן (במדבר יג, ב): שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים.

1 A legal teaching: Is it permitted to set sail on the Great Sea (i.e., the Mediterranean) three days before the Sabbath? Our masters taught (in Shab. 19a): One does not set sail in a ship on the Great Sea three days before the Sabbath, when one wants to go to a distant place. If, however, one desires to set sail from Tyre to Sidon, for example, it is permitted for one to set sail even on the Sabbath eve, because it is a known fact that one can go [there] while it is still daylight. Now these words concern agents with freedom of action; but in the case of agents for [carrying out] a commandment, it is permitted for [such a] one to set sail on whatever day he wants. Why? Because he is an agent for [carrying out] a commandment, and an agent for [carrying out] a commandment overrides the Sabbath. And so you find with reference to the sukkah that they have taught (in Suk. 2:4), “Agents for [carrying out] a religious duty are exempted from [the requirements of] the sukkah.”1Suk. 25a (bar). You have none so dear to the Holy One, blessed be He, as an agent, when he is sent to carry out a religious duty and is risking his life to succeed in it. And you have none who were sent to carry out a religious duty and who risked their lives to succeed in their mission like those two whom Joshua ben Nun sent. Thus it is stated (in Josh. 2:1), “Then Joshua ben Nun sent two [spies] from Shittim [secretly, saying]….” Who were they? Our masters have taught, “These were Phinehas and Caleb.” They had gone and risked their lives in order to be successful in their mission. What is the implication of secretly (heresh)? That they made themselves out to be potters and cried, “Here are pots. Whoever wants [some], let him come and buy.” [Their ruse was] so that no one would notice them. [Hence secretly (heresh) is written [in this verse,] but read it [as] clay (heres), (from which pots are made). [They had made themselves out to be potters] lest people say that they were spies. (Ibid., cont.) “So they went and came to the house of a woman who was a harlot whose name was Rahab […]”: She arose and received them. The king of Jericho became aware of them and heard that they had come to investigate the whole land, as stated (in vs. 2), “But it was told the king of Jericho [….].” When they came to look for them, what did Rahab do? She took them away to hide them. Phinehas said to her, “I am a priest, and the priests are comparable to the angels (mal'akhim), as stated (in Mal. 2:7), “For the lips of a priest preserve knowledge, and they seek Torah from his mouth, because he is a messenger (mal'akh) of the Lord of hosts.” Now an angel desiring [to be visible] is visible; and one desiring [to be invisible] is not visible. And from where is it known that the prophets are also comparable to angels. As so is it stated about Moses (in Numb. 20:16), “and he sent a messenger (mal'akh) who brought us out of Egypt.” And was it an angel? And was he not Moses? Hence the prophets are likened to angels (mal'akhim). And so too is it stated (in Jud. 2:1), “An angel (mal'akh) of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, ‘I brought you up from Egypt…” And was he not Phinehas? It is simply that from here [it is shown] that the prophets are called angels. Hence Phinehas said to her, “I am a priest, and I do not need to hide. Hide my colleague, Caleb, and I will stand in front of them but they will not see me.” And so did she do, as stated (in Josh. 2:4), “So the woman took the two men [and hid him].” It does not say, “hid them,” but rather “hid him2Him is a literal translation of the Masoretic text.” Behold that she did not hide Phinehas, but rather [only] Caleb. [This is] to teach you how much these two righteous men risked themselves to fulfill their mission. But the agents whom Moses sent were wicked. Where is it shown? From what they have read on the matter (in Numb. 13:2) “Send men.”

2 ב

זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (תהלים עו, ו): אֶשְׁתּוֹלְלוּ אַבִּירֵי לֵב נָמוּ שְׁנָתָם. אֶשְׁתּוֹלְלוּ, אֵלּוּ משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן שֶׁשָּׁלְחוּ הַמְּרַגְּלִים וּבָאוּ וְאָמְרוּ לָשׁוֹן הָרָע עַל הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא הָיוּ יוֹדְעִין מַה לַּעֲשׂוֹת, אֶלָּא אַף משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן נִתְרַשְׁלוּ אֶת יָדָם, מִיָּד עָמַד כָּלֵב וְשִׁתֵּק כָּל אוֹתָן אֻכְלוּסִין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יג, ל): וַיַּהַס כָּלֵב אֶת הָעָם, עָמַד לוֹ עַל הַסַּפְסָל וְהָיָה מְשַׁתְּקָן וְאוֹמֵר הַס, וְהֵם שׁוֹתְקִין לִשְׁמֹעַ מִמֶּנּוּ, אָמַר לָהֶם (במדבר יד, ז): טוֹבָה הָאָרֶץ מְאֹד מְאֹד, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה טוֹבָה גְדוֹלָה אֲנִי מַחֲזִיק לוֹ, שֶׁנֶאֱמַר (דברים א, לו): זוּלָתִי כָּלֵב בֶּן יְפֻנֶּה, מַהוּ זוּלָתִי, לָזֶה אִתִּי יוֹתֵר מִשִּׁשִּׁים רִבּוֹא מִכֶּם, אַתֶּם לֹא מְצָאתֶם יְדֵיכֶם אֶלָּא כְּשַׁלְתֶּם, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר: אֶשְׁתּוֹלְלוּ אַבִּירֵי לֵב, כָּל כָּךְ לָמָּה עַל שֶׁהָיוּ שְׁלוּחִין טִפְּשִׁין, אָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה (משלי כו, ו): מְקַצֶּה רַגְלַיִם חָמָס שֹׁתֶה שֹׁלֵחַ דְּבָרִים בְּיַד כְּסִיל.

2 This text is related (to Ps. 76:6), “The stout-hearted were despoiled; they were asleep in their slumber.” (Ibid.) “The stout-hearted were despoiled,” namely Moses and Aaron. After they sent out the spies, these came and made an evil report about the land, and they did not know what to do. Actually, even Moses and Aaron were negligent [over the report]. Immediately Caleb stood up and silenced all those hosts,3Gk.: ochloi. as stated (in Numb. 13:30), “Then Caleb hushed the people before Moses.” He stood on a stool4Safsal; cf. Lat.: subsellium. and had them become silent. Then he said to them, “Hush.” So they became silent in order to hear from him. He said to them (in Numb. 14:7), “The land […] is very very good.” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, “I am exceedingly grateful to Caleb.” It is so stated (in Deut. 1:36), “Except Caleb ben Jephunneh.” What is the meaning of “except (zwlty)?” This one is with Me (lzh wh'ty) (more) than sixty myriads of you. You did not find your hands (i.e., your courage); therefore you stumbled. Thus it is stated (in Ps. 76:6), “The stout-hearted were despoiled.” Why all this? Because they were foolish agents. It is with reference to them that Solomon has said (in Prov. 26:6), “The one who sends a message through a fool is cutting off [his own] feet and drinking violence.”

3 ג

שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, רַבִּי אַחָא הַגָּדוֹל פָּתַח (ישעיה מ, ח): יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ וּדְבַר אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם, לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ אוֹהֵב וְהִתְנָה עִמּוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ לֵךְ עִמִּי וַאֲנִי נוֹתֵן לְךָ מַתָּנָה, הָלַךְ עִמּוֹ וָמֵת, אָמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ לִבְנוֹ שֶׁל אוֹהֲבוֹ, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמֵּת אָבִיךָ אֵינִי חוֹזֵר בִּי בַּמַּתָּנָה שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי לוֹ, בּוֹא וְטֹל אַתָּה. כָּךְ הַדָּבָר, הַמֶּלֶךְ, מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וְהָאוֹהֵב, זֶה אַבְרָהָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה מא, ח): זֶרַע אַבְרָהָם אֹהֲבִי, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בּוֹא לֵךְ עִמִּי (בראשית יב, א): לֶךְ לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ, הִתְנָה עִמּוֹ שֶׁיִּתֵּן לוֹ מַתָּנָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית יג, יז): קוּם הִתְהַלֵּךְ בָּאָרֶץ, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (בראשית יג, טו): כִּי אֶת כָּל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה רֹאֶה לְךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִתְנֵתִי עִם הָאָבוֹת לִתֵּן לָהֶם אֶת הָאָרֶץ וּמֵתוּ, אֵינִי חוֹזֵר בִּי אֶלָּא (ישעיה מ, ח): וּדְבַר אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם.

3 (Numb. 13:2) “Send men”: R. Aha the Great opened [his discourse] (with Is. 40:8), “Grass withers, flowers fade, but the word of our God shall stand forever.” To what is the matter comparable? To a king who had a friend. Now he made an agreement with him and said to him, “Come with me, and I will give you a present.” He went with him but died. The king said to the son of his friend, “Although your father has died, I am not withdrawing the present that I had promised to give him. Come and get it.” This king is the Holy One, blessed be He, and the friend is Abraham, as stated (in Is. 41:8), “the seed of My friend Abraham.” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “Come with me,” as stated (in Gen. 12:1), “Go from your land….” He made an agreement with him to give him a present, as stated (in Gen. 13:17), “Arise, walk about the land [… for I am giving it to you].” It also says (in vs. 15), “For all the land which you see, [to you will I give it, and to your seed forever].” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, “Although the ancestors have died, I had agreed with them to give them the land. I am not going back on [My word].” Instead (as in Numb. 13:2), “Send men.” Ergo (according to Is. 40:8), “but the word of our God shall stand forever.”

4 ד

שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (משלי י, כו): כַּחֹמֶץ לַשִּׁנַּיִם וְכֶעָשָׁן לָעֵינָיִם כֵּן הֶעָצֵל לְשֹׁלְחָיו, נִכָּרִים הָיוּ הַמְּרַגְּלִים שֶׁהָיוּ מוֹצִיאִין לָשׁוֹן הָרָע עַל הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיה ט, ב): וַיַּדְרְכוּ אֶת לְשׁוֹנָם קַשְׁתָּם שֶׁקֶר, לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה לְעָשִׁיר שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ כֶּרֶם, כְּשֶׁהָיָה רוֹאֶה שֶׁהַיַּיִן יָפֶה הָיָה אוֹמֵר הַכְנִיסוּ אֶת הַיַּיִן בְּבֵיתִי, וּכְשֶׁהָיָה רוֹאֶה שֶׁהַיַּיִן חֹמֶץ, הָיָה אוֹמֵר הַכְנִיסוּ אֶת הַיַּיִן בְּבָתֵּיכֶם. אַף כָּךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, כְּשֶׁרָאָה שֶׁהַזְּקֵנִים מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם כְּשֵׁרִים, קָרָא אוֹתָן לִשְׁמוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יא, טז): אֶסְפָה לִּי שִׁבְעִים אִישׁ, וּכְשֶׁרָאָה אֶת הַמְרַגְּלִים שֶׁהֵן עֲתִידִין לַחְטֹא, קָרָא אוֹתָן לִשְׁמוֹ שֶׁל משֶׁה, שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים.

4 (Numb. 13:2) “Send men for yourself”:5The midrash here understands the verse in this more literal sense. This text is related (to Prov. 10:26), “Like vinegar to the teeth and like smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy person to those who send him.” The spies were notable, in that they spoke evil speech against the land, as stated (in Jer. 9:2), “For they have bent their tongues as a bow of falsehood, [and it is not for truth that they have grown mighty in the land.]” To what is the matter comparable? To a wealthy man who had a vineyard. Whenever he saw that the wine was good, he would say to his tenants, “Put it in my house”; but whenever he saw that it was sour, he would say to his tenants, “Put it in your houses.” So also here. When the Holy One, blessed be He, saw that the elders were worthy, he called them in His own name, as stated (in Numb. 11:16), “Gather me seventy men [from the elders of Israel].” When He saw that the spies were going to sin, he called them by Moses' name, as stated (in Numb. 13:2), “Send men for yourself.”

5 ה

זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (משלי כו, ו): מְקַצֶּה רַגְלַיִם חָמָס שֹׁתֶה שֹׁלֵחַ דְּבָרִים בְּיַד כְּסִיל, וְכִי כְּסִילִים הָיוּ מְרַגְּלִים וַהֲלוֹא כְּבָר נֶאֱמַר: שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, וּבְכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אֲנָשִׁים בְּנֵי אָדָם צַדִּיקִים הֵם, שֶׁכֵּן הוּא אוֹמֵר (שמות יז, ט): וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בְּחַר לָנוּ אֲנָשִׁים, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (שמואל א יז, יב): וְהָאִישׁ בִּימֵי שָׁאוּל זָקֵן בָּא בַאֲנָשִׁים, (שמואל א א, יא): וְנָתַתָּה לַאֲמָתְךָ זֶרַע אֲנָשִׁים, לְאֵלּוּ אַתְּ קוֹרֵא כְּסִילִים, אֵלּוּ לֹא נִקְרְאוּ כְּסִילִים אֶלָּא עַל שֶׁהוֹצִיאוּ דִּבָּה עַל הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי י, יח): וּמוֹצִא דִבָּה הוּא כְסִיל, אַף עַל פִּי כֵן בְּנֵי אָדָם גְּדוֹלִים הָיוּ וְעָשׂוּ עַצְמָן כְּסִילִים, עֲלֵיהֶם אָמַר משֶׁה (דברים לב, כ): כִּי דוֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת הֵמָּה בָּנִים לֹא אֵמֻן בָּם, שֶׁנִּבְחֲרוּ מִכָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל מִפִּי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּמִפִּי משֶׁה, שֶׁכֵּן כְּתִיב (דברים א, כג): וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינַי הַדָּבָר וָאֶקַּח מִכֶּם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲנָשִׁים, מִכָּאן שֶׁהָיוּ צַדִּיקִים בִּפְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבִפְנֵי משֶׁה, וְאַף משֶׁה לֹא רָצָה לְשַׁלְּחָם מִדַּעַת עַצְמוֹ עַד שֶׁנִּמְלַךְ בְּהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד, פְּלוֹנִי מִשֵּׁבֶט פְּלוֹנִי, וְאָמַר לוֹ רְאוּיִים הֵם, וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁאָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁהָיוּ רְאוּיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יג, ג): וַיִּשְׁלַח אֹתָם משֶׁה מִמִּדְבַּר פָּארָן עַל פִּי ה', וְאַחַר כָּךְ לְסוֹף אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם נֶהֶפְכוּ וְעָשׂוּ כָּל הַצָּרָה וְגָרְמוּ לְאוֹתוֹ דּוֹר שֶׁיִּלְקֶה בְּאוֹתָהּ הַמַּכָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: כִּי דוֹר תַּהְפֻּכֹת הֵמָּה, שֶׁנִּתְבָּרְרוּ צַדִּיקִים וְנִתְהַפְּכוּ, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר: שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים (במדבר יג, טז): אֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים.

5 This text is related (to Prov. 26:6), “The one who sends a message through a fool is cutting off [his own] feet and drinking violence.” And were the spies fools? And has it not already been stated (in Numb. 13:2) “Send men (anashim).” And in every place that anashim is used, the men are righteous. Where is this shown? For so it says (in Exod. 17:9), “Then Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose men (anashim) for us.’” And so it says (in I Sam. 17:12), “and in the days of Saul the man (Jesse) had come to an elderly age among men (anashim).” And so it [also] says (in I Sam. 1:11), “and if you grant your handmaid the seed of men (anashim).” Now you are calling these [spies] fools? But these were only called fools because they had uttered malicious slander against the land, as stated (in Prov. 10:18), “and the one who utters slander is a fool.” But nevertheless they had [once] been great human beings, although they had made themselves foolish. So it is on account of them that Moses says (in Deut. 32:20), “for they are a perverse generation, children with no loyalty to them.” Thus they were chosen from all of Israel at the command of the Holy One, blessed be He, and at the command of Moses, as stated (in Deut. 1:23), “Now the plan seemed good in My eyes; so I took [twelve men (anashim)] from you.” From here [we see] that they were righteous in front of Israel and in front of Moses. And even Moses did not want to send them until he had consulted with the Holy One, blessed be He, over each and every one. When he had said [for each one], “So-and-so from such-and-such tribe,” the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “They are acceptable.” Thus it is stated (in Numb. 13:3), “So Moses sent them from the Desert of Paran at the command of the Lord.” Then after that, at the end of forty days, they changed and made all that trouble. So they caused that generation to be afflicted with that punishment, as stated (in Deut. 32:20), “for they are a perverse generation.” Because when they were chosen, [they were] righteous, and then they changed. It is therefore stated (in Numb. 13:2, 16), “Send men for yourself […]. And these are the names of the men (anashim).”

6 ו

דָּבָר אַחֵר, שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים וְיָתֻרוּ, (במדבר יב, א): וַתְּדַבֵּר מִרְיָם וְאַהֲרֹן בְּמשֶׁה, וְאַחַר כָּךְ שְׁלַח לְךָ, זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (ישעיה מד, יח): לֹא יָדְעוּ וְלֹא יָבִינוּ כִּי טַח מֵרְאוֹת עֵינֵיהֶם, מָה רָאָה לוֹמַר אַחַר מַעֲשֵׂה מִרְיָם שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, אֶלָּא שֶׁהָיָה צָפוּי לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁיֹּאמְרוּ לָשׁוֹן הָרָע עַל הָאָרֶץ, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁלֹא יִהְיוּ אוֹמְרִים לֹא הָיִינוּ יוֹדְעִין עֹנֶשׁ לָשׁוֹן הָרָע, לְפִיכָךְ סָמַךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הָעִנְיָן זֶה לָזֶה, לְפִי שֶׁדִּבְּרָה מִרְיָם בְּאָחִיהָ וְלָקְתָה בְּצָרַעַת, כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּדְעוּ הַכֹּל עָנְשׁוֹ שֶׁל לָשׁוֹן הָרָע, שֶׁאִם בִּקְּשׁוּ לוֹמַר לָשׁוֹן הָרָע יִהְיוּ מִסְתַּכְּלִין מַה נַּעֲשָׂה לְמִרְיָם, וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן לֹא רָצוּ לִלְמֹד, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר לֹא יָדְעוּ וְלֹא יָבִינוּ כִּי טַח מֵרְאוֹת עֵינֵיהֶם.

6 Another interpretation (of Numb. 13:2) “Send men”: What is written above the matter (in Numb. 12:1)? “And Miriam spoke to Aaron about Moses.” And afterwards, (in Numb. 12:2), “Send men.” This text is related (to Is. 44:18), “They neither know nor understand; for their eyes are stuck shut so that they cannot see […].” What is the reason for saying, “Send men,” after the episode of Miriam (in Numb. 12:1ff.)? It is simply that it was anticipated by the Holy One, blessed be He, that they would come and utter evil speech against the land.6Sot. 34a. The Holy One, blessed be He, had said that they should not [be able to] say, “We did not know what the penalty for evil speech was.” For that reason the Holy One, blessed be He, put this [story] next to the one [in which Miriam was afflicted with leprosy, because she had spoken slander against her brother. [This was] so that everyone would know the punishment for evil speech. [It was a warning] so that if they came to speak slander, they would consider what happened to Miriam; but even so, they did not desire to learn. It is therefore stated (in Is. 44:18), “They neither know nor understand […].”

7 ז

דָּבָר אַחֵר, שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שְׁלַח לְךָ, לֹא הָיָה מִן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁיֵּלְכוּ, לָמָּה, שֶׁכְּבָר אָמַר לָהֶן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שִׁבְחָהּ שֶׁל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל (דברים ח, ז): כִּי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ מְבִיאֲךָ אֶל אֶרֶץ וגו', וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (דברים יא, י): כִּי הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה בָא שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ וגו', וְעַד שֶׁהֵם בְּמִצְרַיִם אָמַר (שמות ג, ח): וָאֵרֵד לְהַצִּילוֹ מִיַּד מִצְרַיִם וּלְהַעֲלֹתוֹ מִן הָאָרֶץ הַהִוא אֶל אֶרֶץ וגו', הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר (שמות יג, כא): וַה' הֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם יוֹמָם בְּעַמּוּד עָנָן, וּמַהוּ שְׁלַח לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, אֶלָּא יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵן בִּקְּשׁוּ הַדְּבָרִים הַלָּלוּ, שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהִגִּיעוּ לִירַשׁ אֶת הַתְּחוּמִין, אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא (דברים א, כא): רְאֵה נָתַן ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְפָנֶיךָ אֶת הָאָרֶץ, בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה נִתְקָרְבוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵצֶל משֶׁה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים א, כב): וַתִּקְרְבוּן אֵלַי כֻּלְּכֶם, זֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר עֶזְרָא (נחמיה ט, טו יז): וְלֹא שָׁמְעוּ אֶל מִצְוֹתֶיךָ וַיְמָאֲנוּ לִשְׁמֹעַ וְלֹא זָכְרוּ נִפְלְאֹתֶיךָ, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (במדבר י, לג): לָתוּר לָהֶם מְנוּחָה. אֶלָּא אָמְרוּ (דברים א, כב): נִשְׁלְחָה אֲנָשִׁים לְפָנֵינוּ וְיַחְפְּרוּ לָנוּ, אֶלָּא שֶׁלֹא הֶאֱמִינוּ. וְכֵן בְּדָוִד הוּא אוֹמֵר (תהלים עח, כב): כִּי לֹא הֶאֱמִינוּ בֵּאלֹהִים, וּכְתִיב (תהלים עח, י): וּבְתוֹרָתוֹ מֵאֲנוּ לָלֶכֶת. רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹמֵר לְמָה הָיוּ דּוֹמִין, לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁזִּמֵּן לִבְנוֹ אִשָּׁה נָאָה וּבַת טוֹבִים וַעֲשִׁירָה, אָמַר לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ זִמַּנְתִּי לְךָ אִשָּׁה נָאָה וּבַת טוֹבִים וַעֲשִׁירָה. אָמַר לוֹ הַבֵּן אֵלֵךְ וְאֶרְאֶה אוֹתָהּ, שֶׁלֹא הָיָה מַאֲמִין לְאָבִיו, מִיָּד הֻקְשָׁה הַדָּבָר וְהֵרַע לְאָבִיו, אָמַר אָבִיו מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה אִם אוֹמַר לוֹ אֵינִי מַרְאֶה אוֹתָהּ לְךָ עַכְשָׁו הוּא אוֹמֵר כְּעוּרָה הָיְתָה לְפִיכָךְ לֹא רָצָה לְהַרְאוֹתָהּ, לְסוֹף אָמַר לוֹ רְאֵה אוֹתָהּ וְתֵדַע אִם כִּזַּבְתִּי לָךְ, וּבִשְׁבִיל שֶׁלֹא הֶאֱמַנְתָּ בִּי קוֹנָם שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה רוֹאֶה אוֹתָהּ בְּבֵיתְךָ, אֶלָּא לְבִנְךָ אֲנִי נוֹתְנָהּ. וְכָךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אָמַר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל: טוֹבָה הָאָרֶץ, וְלֹא הֶאֱמִינוּ, אֶלָּא אָמְרוּ: נִשְׁלְחָה אֲנָשִׁים לְפָנֵינוּ וְיַחְפְּרוּ לָנוּ, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אִם מְעַכֵּב אֲנִי עֲלֵיהֶם הֵם אוֹמְרִים עַל שֶׁאֵינָהּ טוֹבָה לֹא הֶרְאָה אוֹתָהּ לָנוּ, אֶלָּא יִרְאוּ אוֹתָהּ וּבִשְׁבוּעָה שֶׁאֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶם נִכְנַס לְתוֹכָהּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יד, כג): אִם יִרְאוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לַאֲבֹתָם וְכָל מְנַאֲצַי לֹא יִרְאוּהָ, אֶלָּא לִבְנֵיהֶם אֲנִי נוֹתְנָהּ.

7 Another interpretation (of Numb. 13:2), “Send men for yourself”: Even though the Holy One, blessed be He, had said to Moses, “Send men for yourself,” it was not [the wish] of the Holy One, blessed be He, for them to go.7See Numb. R. 16:7. Why? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, had already told them [about] the superiority of the Land of Israel. It is so stated (in Deut. 8:7), “For the Lord your God is bringing you unto a good land.” Moreover, while they had been in Egypt, he had said to them (in Exod. 3:8), “I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians [and to bring them up out of that land unto a good and spacious land].” And Scripture states (in Exod. 13:21), “And the Lord went in front of them by day […].” So what is the point of [saying] (in Numb. 13:2), “Send men?” It is simply that they wanted these words. When they reached [Israel's] borders, Moses had said to them (in Deut. 1:21), “See, the Lord your God has set the land before you, [go and possess…].” At that time Israel approached Moses, as stated (in vs. 22), “Then you all drew near unto me [and said, ‘Let us send men ahead of us to explore the land for us’].” This is what Ezra8See Sanh. 93b, which also alludes to the book of Nehemiah under the name of Ezra. said (in Neh. 9:17), “So they refused to listen and were unmindful of Your] wonders.” Now it says (in Numb. 10:33), “and the ark of the covenant of the Lord traveled ahead of them […].” And [yet] they said (in Deut. 1:22), “Let us send men ahead of us to explore the land for us.” [It is simply] that they did not believe. And similarly David said (in Ps. 78:10), “and they refused to follow His Torah.” R. Joshua says, “To what were they comparable? To a king who secured for his son a beautiful wife, the daughter of good and wealthy parents. The king said to him, ‘I have secured you a beautiful wife, the daughter of good and wealthy parents. There is no one like her in the whole world.’ The son said to him, ‘Let me go to see her,’ for he did not trust his father. Immediately the situation became ever more difficult for his father and it was bad for him. His father said, ‘What shall I do? If I say to him, “I am not showing her to you,” then he will say, “She is ugly. For that reason he did not want to show her.’” Finally he said to him, ‘Look at her, so that you may know that I have not deceived you. But because you did not trust me, I swear that you shall not see her in your house. Instead I am giving her to your son.’ Now similarly did the Holy One, blessed be He, say to Israel, ‘The land is good,’ but they did not believe [Him]. They said (in Deut. 1:22), ‘Let us send men ahead of us.’ The Holy One, blessed be He, said, ‘If I prevent them, they will say, “The land is no good. For that reason He has not shown it to us.” Rather, they will only see it, for I swear that not one of them shall enter within it, but rather [only] their children.’ Thus it is stated (in Numb. 14:23), ‘Surely they shall not see the land […].’ Rather I shall give it to your children.”

8 ח

כֵּיוָן שֶׁאָמְרוּ לְמשֶׁה נִשְׁלְחָה אֲנָשִׁים לְפָנֵינוּ, הִתְחִיל משֶׁה עוֹמֵד וְתוֹהֶא אָמַר אֶפְשָׁר לִי לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר עַד שֶׁאֶמָּלֵךְ בְּהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, הָלַךְ וְנִמְלַךְ, אָמַר לוֹ כָּךְ וְכָךְ בָּנֶיךָ מְבַקְּשִׁים, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֵין זֶה תְּחִלָּה לָהֶם, עַד שֶׁהֵם בְּמִצְרַיִם הִלְעִיגוּ לִי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (הושע ז, טז): זוֹ לַעְגָּם בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם, לְמוּדִים הֵם לְכָךְ, אֵינִי צָרִיךְ לְנַסּוֹתָם, שֶׁכָּתוּב (דניאל ב, כב): יָדַע מָה בַחֲשׁוֹכָא וּנְהוֹרָא עִמֵּהּ שְׁרֵא, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא משֶׁה יוֹדֵעַ אֲנִי מָה הֵם, אֶלָּא אִם בִּקַּשְׁתָּ שְׁלַח לְךָ לְעַצְמְךָ, מִנַיִן, שֶׁכֵּן כְּתִיב (במדבר יג, טז): אֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר שָׁלַח משֶׁה לָתוּר.

8 When they said to Moses (in Deut. 1:22), “Let us send men ahead of us,” Moses began to wonder. He said, “It is impossible for me to do something before I consult with the Holy One, blessed be He.” He went and consulted. He said to him, “Your children want thus and so.” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “This is not the first time for them. While they were in Egypt, they jeered at Me, as stated (in Hos. 7:16), ‘this was their derision in the land of Egypt.’ They are accustomed to such [behavior]. I do not need to test them; as see, it is written (in Dan. 2:22), ‘He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him’; I know what they are [saying]. But if you want, you yourself, ‘Send men for yourself.’” Where is it shown? Where it is written (in Numb. 13:16), “These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land.”

9 ט

וַיִּקְרָא משֶׁה לְהוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן נוּן יְהוֹשֻׁעַ (במדבר יג, טז), מָה רָאָה משֶׁה לְהוֹסִיף עַל שְׁמוֹ שֶׁל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ יוּ"ד, אֶלָּא כָּלֵב נָטַל שְׂכָרוֹ מִן הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע יד, ט): אִם לֹא הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר דָּרְכָה רַגְלְךָ בָּהּ לְךָ תִהְיֶה לְנַחֲלָה וּלְבָנֶיךָ עַד עוֹלָם, וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ נָטַל שְׂכַר עֲשָׂרָה אֲנָשִׁים שֶׁל מְרַגְּלִים, שֶׁנִּתּוֹסַף בּוֹ יוּ"ד יַתִּיר, יו"ד עֲשָׂרָה, (במדבר יג, טז): וַיִּקְרָא משֶׁה לְהוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן נוּן יְהוֹשֻׁעַ. דָּבָר אַחֵר, כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאָה משֶׁה אוֹתָן שֶׁהָיוּ רְשָׁעִים אָמַר לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ יָהּ יוֹשִׁיעֲךָ מִן הַדּוֹר הַזֶּה.

9 (Numb. 13:16, cont.) “Then Moses called Hoshea (hwsh') ben Nun, Joshua (yhwsh')”: What reason did Moses see for adding a yod (i.e., a y) to Joshua's name?9 Cf. Sanh. 107a; Gen. R. 47:1; Exod. R. 6:1. It is simply that Caleb had taken his reward from the land, as stated (in Deut. 1:36)), “to him will I gave the land on which he has trod.” But Joshua [received] the reward [that would have gone to the other] ten [spies], in that a yod [which stands for] ten was added to his name. (Numb. 13:16, cont.) “Then Moses called Hoshea (hwsh') ben Nun, Joshua (yhwsh'). Another interpretation: When Moses saw that they were so very wicked, Moses said to him, “May the Lord (abbreviated to yh) save (ywshy') you from this evil generation.”

10 י

אֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים (במדבר יג, טז), מָה הָיוּ שְׁמוֹתָן (במדבר יג, יג טו): סְתוּר בֶּן מִיכָאֵל, נַחְבִּי בֶּן וָפְסִי, גְּאוּאֵל בֶּן מָכִי, יֵשׁ בְּנֵי אָדָם שֶׁשְּׁמוֹתָם נָאִים וּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם כְּעוּרִים, שְׁמוֹתָם כְּעוּרִים וּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם נָאִים, שֶׁשְּׁמוֹתֵיהֶם נָאִים וּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם נָאִים, שְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם וּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם כְּעוּרִים. שְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם נָאִים וּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם כְּעוּרִים, זֶה יִשְׁמָעֵאל וְעֵשָׂו, יִשְׁמָעֵאל, שׁוֹמֵעַ אֵל, עֵשָׂו, עוֹשֶׂה רְצוֹן עוֹשָׂיו, וּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם רָעִים. שְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם כְּעוּרִים וּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם נָאִים, אֵלּוּ עוֹלֵי גוֹלָה (עזרא ב, נג): בְּנֵי בַרְקוֹס בְּנֵי סִיסְרָא בְּנֵי תָמַח. שְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם כְּעוּרִים וּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם כְּעוּרִים, אֵלּוּ הַמְּרַגְּלִים, מַה כְּתִיב בָּהֶן, סְתוּר, שֶׁסְּתָרוֹ מִן הָעוֹלָם.

These are the names of the men (Numbers 13:16): What were their names? Sethur the son of Michael; Nahbi the son of Vophsi; Geuel the son of Machi. There are people whose names are nice and whose actions are ugly, people whose names are ugly and actions are nice, people whose names and actions are nice, and people whose names and actions are ugly. Whose names are nice and whose actions are ugly - this is Ishmael and Esau: Ishmael means "listens to God" ("Shomea El"). Esau means "does the will of his Maker" ("Oseh Retzon Osav"). But their actions are bad. Whose names are ugly and whose actions are nice - these are those who ascended from exile: the children of Barak, the children of Sisera, and the children of Tamach. Whose names and actions are ugly - these are the spies. What is written about them? Sethur - that he closed him off ("setharo") from the world.

11 יא

וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם עֲלוּ זֶה בַּנֶּגֶב (במדבר יג, יז), עִם שֶׁהֵם עוֹלִים אָמַר רַבִּי בֶּרֶכְיָה הַכֹּהֵן בְּרַבִּי מָצְאוּ שְׁלשָׁה בְּנֵי עֲנָקִים (במדבר יג, כב): וְשָׁם אֲחִימִָן שֵׁשַׁי וְתַלְמַי, לָמָּה נִקְרָא שְׁמוֹ אֲחִימָן, שֶׁהָיָה אוֹמֵר אַחַי מַן יָבוֹא עָלַי. שֵׁשַׁי, שֶׁהָיָה בָּרִיא כְּשַׁיִּשׁ. תַּלְמַי, שֶׁהָיָה עוֹשֶׂה תְּלָמִים בָּאָרֶץ (, כב): יְלִידֵי הָעֲנָק, שֶׁרָאוּהוּ שֶׁהָיָה עוֹנֵק אֶת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ. כְּשֶׁרָאוּ אוֹתָן מְרַגְּלִים, נִתְיָרְאוּ, לְפִיכָךְ אָמְרוּ (במדבר יג, לא): כִּי חָזָק הוּא מִמֶּנּוּ. אָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ הֵטִיחוּ דְבָרִים כְּלַפֵּי מַעְלָה, וּבְאוֹתוֹ עָוֹן נִגְזַר עֲלֵיהֶם גְּזֵרוֹת קָשׁוֹת, מָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אָמַר לְיִרְמְיָה לֵךְ אֱמֹר לָהֶן אֵין אַתֶּם יוֹדְעִים מָה הוֹצֵאתֶם מִפִּיכֶם, (ירמיה יא, טז): לְקוֹל הֲמוּלָּה גְדֹלָה, שֶׁאֲמַרְתֶּם מַה גְּרַמְתֶּם לְעַצְמְכֶם הִצִּיתֶם אֵשׁ עֲלֵיכֶם, (במדבר יד, לד): יוֹם לַשָּׁנָה יוֹם לַשָּׁנָה תִּשְׂאוּ אֶת עֲוֹנֹתֵיכֶם. אָמְרוּ (במדבר יג, לג): וַנְהִי בְעֵינֵינוּ כַּחֲגָבִים, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וִתַּרְתִּי עֲלֵיהֶם, אֶלָּא (במדבר יג, לג): וְכֵן הָיִינוּ בְּעֵינֵיהֶם. יוֹדְעִים הֱיִיתֶם מֶה עָשִׂיתִי אֶתְכֶם לְעֵינֵיהֶם, מִי יֹאמַר שֶׁלֹא הֱיִיתֶם בְּעֵינֵיהֶם כְּמַלְאָכִים. מַה גְּרַמְתֶּם לְעַצְמְכֶם (במדבר יד, לד): בְּמִסְפַּר הַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר תַּרְתֶּם אֶת הָאָרֶץ, לֹא דַיָּם כָּךְ אֶלָּא שֶׁלֹא נִכְנְסוּ לָאָרֶץ. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה עַל יְדֵי שֶׁהָיוּ שְׁלוּחֵי בָּשָׂר וָדָם נִגְזַר עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁלֹא יִכָּנְסוּ לָאָרֶץ, אֲבָל לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֲנִי מְשַׁלֵּחַ לָכֶם מַלְאָכִי פִּתְאוֹם וִיפַנֶּה אֶת הַדֶּרֶךְ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלאכי ג, א): הִנְנִי שֹׁלֵחַ מַלְאָכִי וּפִנָּה דֶרֶךְ לְפָנָי וּפִתְאֹם יָבוֹא אֶל הֵיכָלוֹ.

11 (Numb. 13:17) “Then he said unto them, ‘Go up here into the Negeb’”: “Go up,” since [they are] a people who go up. R. Berekhyah the Priest Berabbi said (according to vs. 22), “They found the three sons of Anak there, ‘Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai.’12Cf. Sot. 34b. Why was the name of [the first] called Ahiman? Because he said, ‘My brother (ahi), who (man) will come against me?’ [Why] Sheshai (shyshy)? Because he was as sound as marble (shysh). [Why] Talmai?13Talmay, which means, “my furrows.” Because he went and made furrows (telamim) in the earth.”14I.e., with his heavy steps. (Ibid., cont.) “The children of the Anak ('nq)”: (He was called that] because he wore (rt.: 'nq) the sun around his neck.15According to Zeev Wolf’s commentary on Numb. R. 16:11, they were so tall that the sun seemed to rest on their heads. When the spies saw them they were afraid. Immediately they went and said (in vs. 31), “for they are stronger than we (which can also be read as, than He).” Resh Laqish said, “They compared them to the Above. Because of this transgression harsh decrees were issued against them.” What does the Holy One, blessed be He, say to Jeremiah? “Go, say to them, ‘You do not know what you have brought out from your mouth, as stated (in Jer. 11:16), “with the sound of a great tumult you have lit fire to it, and you have broken its boughs.” What did you cause to yourselves “with the sound of a great tumult” that you said, “you have lit fire to it.” “You will carry your sins one day for each year”’” (Numbers 14:34). They said (in Numb. 13:33), “And in our own eyes we were like grasshoppers.” The Holy One, blessed be He, said, “I forgave them for that [remark]; but I was exacting [when they said] (ibid., cont.), ‘And so we were in their eyes.’ The Holy One, blessed be He, said, “Did you know what I made you in their eyes? Who would say that you were not like angels in their eyes?” What had they brought upon themselves? (Numb. 14:34,) “According to the number of days that you explored the land […] forty years.” As though this was not enough, they did not even enter the land. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, “In this world,16This form usually denotes the end of a parashah, but it does not do so here. because the representatives (literally, those sent) were of flesh and blood, it has been decreed over them that they should not enter the land; but in the world to come I will suddenly send My angel (mal'akh), and he shall clear a way.” It is so stated (in Mal. 3:1), “Behold, I am sending My messenger (mal'akh) to clear a way before Me, and [the Lord whom you seek] shall suddenly come unto his Temple.”

12 יב

וַיִּשְׁלַח אֹתָם משֶׁה לָתוּר אֶת אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם עֲלוּ זֶה בַּנֶּגֶב וַעֲלִיתֶם אֶת הָהָר (במדבר יג, יז), שֶׁכֵּן הַתַּגָרִין מַרְאִין אֶת הַפְּסֹלֶת תְּחִלָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ מַרְאִין אֶת הַשֶּׁבַח, (במדבר יג, יח): וּרְאִיתֶם אֶת הָאָרֶץ, שָׁלשׁ פְּעָמִים אָמַר לָהֶם וּמָה הָאָרֶץ, לָמָּה בָּרִאשׁוֹן וּרְאִיתֶם וגו', אָמַר לָהֶם הֱיוּ מִסְתַּכְּלִין בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, יֵשׁ אֶרֶץ שֶׁמְגַדֶּלֶת גִּבּוֹרִים, וְיֵשׁ אֶרֶץ שֶׁמְגַדֶּלֶת חַלָּשִׁים, וְיֵשׁ שֶׁמְגַדֶּלֶת אֻכְלוּסִין וְיֵשׁ מְמַעֶטֶת אֻכְלוּסִין, כָּךְ פְּקָדָן (במדבר יג, יח): וְאֶת הָעָם הַיּשֵׁב עָלֶיהָ הֶחָזָק הוּא הֲרָפֶה הַמְעַט הוּא אִם רָב, (במדבר יג, יט): וּמָה הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר הוּא ישֵׁב בָּהּ, מִנַּיִן אַתֶּם יוֹדְעִין כֹּחָם, אִם בְּמַחֲנִים הֵם שְׁרוּיִין הֵם גִּבּוֹרִים, בּוֹטְחִין עַל כֹּחָם, אִם בְּמִבְצָרִים, חַלָּשִׁים הֵם וְלִבָּם רַךְ, (במדבר יג, כ): וּמָה הָאָרֶץ הַשְּׁמֵנָה הִוא, אִם פֵּרוֹתֶיהָ קַלִּים אִם שְׁמֵנִים, אָמַר לָהֶם הִסְתַּכְּלוּ בָּאֲבָנִים וּבַצְּרוֹרוֹת שֶׁלָּהּ, אִם שֶׁל צוֹנָמָא הֵם שְׁמֵנִים הֵם, אִם שֶׁל חֲרָסִים הֵם רָזִים הֵם. (במדבר יג, כ): וְהַיָּמִים יְמֵי בִּכּוּרֵי עֲנָבִים, מִכָּאן אָמְרוּ אֵין תְּקוּפַת תַּמּוּז בְּלֹא תְאֵנִים וַעֲנָבִים.

12 (Numb. 13:17) “When Moses sent them […] then he said unto them, ‘Go up here into the Negeb”: Why [first] into the Negeb? Because this is what the merchants do. They show the inferior goods first, and after that they show the best. (Vs. 18) “And you are to see what the land is like”: Three times did Moses tell them, “look over the Land of Israel” (in vss. 18, 19, 20). Why? The first, he said, “See what the land is.” He said to them, “Observe the land. There is land that raises strong men, and there is [land] that raises weaklings. There is also [land] that raises armies,17Gk.: Ochloi. and there is [land] that diminishes armies.” Thus did he charge them (in Numb. 13:18), “as for the people who dwell in it, are they mighty [or] weak?” (Numb. 13:19) “And what of the land, is it good or bad […]?” And how will you know about their strength? (Numb 13:19 cont.) “Are they in camps or in strongholds”: If they dwell in camps, they are mighty and depend upon their strength; but if they are in strongholds, they are weak and have fearful hearts. (Numb. 13:20) “And what of the land, Is it fertile [or lean]”: [How do we determine] whether its fruits are light or fat. He said to them, “Look at its stones and pebbles. If they are of flint, they are fat; and if they are of clay, they are lean.” (Ibid., cont.) “Now the time was the time for the first-fruits of the grapes”: From here you learn that [the month of] Tammuz is never without figs and grapes.

13 יג

וַיַּעֲלוּ וַיָּתֻרוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ (במדבר יג, כא), כֵּיצַד, הָיוּ נִכְנָסִים לְעִיר הַדֶּבֶר נוֹגֵף אֶת הַגְּדוֹלִים וּמִתְעַסְּקִים בְּנֵי הָעִיר בִּקְבוּרָתָן וּבְרִיָּה לֹא הָיְתָה רוֹאָה אוֹתָם, לְכָךְ אָמְרוּ (במדבר יג, לב): הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר עָבַרְנוּ בָהּ וגו', בַּנִּסִּים שֶׁהָיָה עוֹשֶׂה לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בּוֹ הוֹצִיאוּ דִּבָּה. (במדבר יג, כב): וַיַּעֲלוּ בַנֶּגֶב וַיָּבֹא עַד חֶבְרוֹן וְשָׁם אֲחִימָן, שֶׁהָיוּ עַד מְאֹד גִּבּוֹרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ט, ב): אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ וְאַתָּה שָׁמַעְתָּ מִי יִתְיַצֵּב לִפְנֵי בְּנֵי עֲנָק. (במדבר יג, כב): וְחֶבְרוֹן שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים נִבְנְתָה, לְהוֹדִיעֲךָ שִׁבְחָהּ שֶׁל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁהַפְּסֹלֶת שֶׁלָּהּ מְשֻׁבָּח הַרְבֵּה יוֹתֵר מִן הַמְשֻׁבָּח שֶׁל מִצְרַיִם, שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיָּצְאוּ וְנָחֲלוּ בְּנֵי נֹחַ אֶת הָעוֹלָם אַחַר הַמַּבּוּל, הֵם בָּנוּ עֲיָרוֹת תְּחִלָּה, וְלֹא בִּמְקוֹם הַשֶּׁבַח אֶלָּא בִּמְקוֹם הַפְּסֹלֶת שֶׁל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְצֹעַן מִצְרַיִם הִיא הַטּוֹבָה שֶׁבְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, וְזוֹ קָדְמָה לָהּ שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים. וְאִם תֹּאמַר לֹא מִי שֶׁבָּנָה זוֹ לֹא בָּנָה זוֹ, הוּא הַדּוֹר הִיא הַמִּשְׁפָּחָה (בראשית י, ו): וּבְנֵי חָם כּוּשׁ וּמִצְרַיִם וּפוּט וּכְנָעַן, וְעָמְדוּ וּבָנוּ זוֹ לִפְנֵי זוֹ. וְחֶבְרוֹן שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים נִבְנְתָה לִפְנֵי צֹעַן מִצְרָיִם.

13 (Numb. 13:21) “So they went up and explored the land”: How?18 Sot. 35a. When they entered a town, a pestilence afflicted the nobility; and the people of the town were busy with their burial so when they entered, no mortal saw them. For this reason they said (in vs. 32), “The land through which we passed [… is a land that eats up its inhabitants].” It was through the [very] miracles which the Holy One, blessed be He, did for them that they spread slander. (Numb. 13:22) “And they went up to the Negeb and they came to Hevron, and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai were there,” who were extremely strong, as stated (Deut. 9:2), “whom you have known and about whom you have heard.” (Numb. 13:22) “Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt”: [This verse is] to make known the excellence of the Land [of Israel], that its worst soil is better than the land of Egypt.19 See Sifre, Deut. 7:12 (37); Sot. 34b. Thus when the children of Noah took possession of the world after the flood, they first built cities, but not in the best place. Instead they chose the worst of the Land of Israel; for Hebron is the worst [place] in the Land of Israel. But Zoan is the best which is in the land of Egypt, and this [city of Hebron] preceded it by seven years. If you should say, “No, the one who built the former did not build the other”; [then I can answer,] “It was the [same] generation; it was the [same] family (according to Gen. 10:6), ‘And the sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.’” Now they arose and built the one before the other. (Numb. 13:22,) “Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.”

14 יד

וַיָּבֹאוּ עַד נַחַל אֶשְׁכֹּל (במדבר יג, כג), לֹא רָצוּ לִטֹּל מִפֵּרוֹת אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל אִלּוּלֵי כָּלֵב שֶׁשָּׁלַף אֶת הַזַּיִן וַיָּרָץ לִפְנֵיהֶם וְאָמַר לָהֶם אִם אֵין אַתֶּם נוֹטְלִים אוֹ אַתֶּם הוֹרְגִים אוֹתִי אוֹ אֲנִי הוֹרֵג אֶתְכֶם לֹא הָיוּ נוֹטְלִים, לְפִיכָךְ (יהושע יד, ט): אִם לֹא הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר דָּרְכָה רַגְלְךָ בָּהּ לְךָ תִהְיֶה. (במדבר יג, כג): וַיִּשָֹּׂאֻהוּ בַמּוֹט בִּשְׁנָיִם, אֵין פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁנֵי מוֹטוֹת, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין אוֹמֵר בַּמּוֹט שְׁנַיִם, אֶלָּא בִּשְׁנָיִם. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים שְׁלשָׁה, בַמּוֹט אֶחָד, בִּשְׁנָיִם הֲרֵי שְׁלשָׁה. וְכַמָּה הָיָה מַשֹּׂוֹי שֶׁל כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד, נֶאֱמַר בָּאֲבָנִים שֶׁנָּטְלוּ מִן הַיַּרְדֵּן (יהושע ד, כ): וְאֶת שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה הָאֲבָנִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר לָקְחוּ מִן הַיַּרְדֵּן הֵקִים יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בַּגִּלְגָל, כַּמָּה שִׁעוּרָהּ שֶׁל כָּל אַחַת וְאַחַת, מַשְֹּׂאוֹי אַרְבָּעִים סְאָה, מִכָּאן אַתָּה מְחַשֵּׁב לְאוֹתוֹ אֶשְׁכֹּל, אָדָם נוֹשֵׂא מַשְֹּׂאוֹי לְעַצְמוֹ מַגְבִּיהַּ סְאָה, מַגְבִּיהַּ עָלָיו חֲבֵרוֹ נוֹשֵׂא סְאָתַיִם, וְאִם מַגְבִּיהַּ סָאתַיִם נוֹשֵׂא עִם חֲבֵרוֹ נוֹשֵׂא שָׁלשׁ, הֱוֵי מִכָּאן מְחַשֵּׁב.

14 (Numb. 13:23) “Then they came to the Wadi Eshcol”: They did not want to take any of the fruits from the Land of Israel. If Caleb had not drawn his sword, gone down in front of them, and said to them, “If you do not take [some], then either you kill me or I will kill you,” they would not have taken [anything].20 Sot. 34a, according to which neither Joshua nor Caleb were carrying anything. It is therefore stated (to Caleb in Josh. 14:9), “Surely the land on which your foot has trod shall be a portion for you.” (Numb. 13:23) “And they bore it by pole with two”:21The usual rendering of these words depicts the grape cluster resting on a pole suspended between two of the spies. There were not less than two poles, since it does not say, "two on a pole," but “by pole with two.”22I.e., by pole, using two of them. Some also say three, “By pole,” [i.e.,] one [plus] “with two” for a total of three. And how heavy a load did each and every one have in hand? Go out and learn from the stones that they took from the Jordan, as stated (in Josh. 4:20), “And Joshua set up in Gilgal those twelve stones which they took from the Jordan.” What was the size of each and every one of them? A load of forty se’ah.23A se’ah is a measure of capacity. As a weight a se’ah usually means a se’ah of wheat. From here you can calculate that cluster of grapes. A person carries and lifts up [one] se’ah by himself. With his companion lifting [the load] up upon him, he carries two se'ah.24Cf. Rashi, on Sot. 34a, according to whom each one could carry 40 se’ah on his shoulder. Now since a person plus a helper can carry three se’ah, with two men per pole there would be 120 se’ah of grapes per pole. Together with his companion he carries three [se'ah]. Ergo one calculates from here (the weight of the cluster).

15 טו

וַיָּשֻׁבוּ מִתּוּר הָאָרֶץ מִקֵּץ אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם (במדבר יג, כה), וַהֲלוֹא אַתְּ מוֹצֵא שֶׁהָלְכוּ מִן הַדָּרוֹם לַצָּפוֹן אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם, וְאַרְבָּעִים יוֹם הָיוּ מְהַלְּכִין אֶת כֻּלָּהּ, אֶלָּא שֶׁגָּלוּי הָיָה לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁהֵן בָּאִין וְאוֹמְרִים לָשׁוֹן הָרָע עַל הָאָרֶץ, וְנִגְזַר עַל אוֹתוֹ הַדּוֹר שָׁנִים שֶׁל צָרָה, יוֹם לַשָּׁנָה יוֹם לַשָּׁנָה, וְקִפֵּץ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לִפְנֵיהֶם אֶת הַדָּרֶךְ.

15 (Numb. 13:25) “At the end of forty days then they returned from exploring the land”: But do you not find that they [only] went from south to north? Moreover, would they have walked the whole [land] in forty days? It is simply that it was revealed to the Holy One, blessed be He, that they would come and utter slander, and that there would be decreed against that generation years of suffering (according to Numb. 14:34), “[every] day a year, you shall bear your iniquities forty years.” So the Holy One, blessed be He, caused their road to shrink (i.e., to close up) before them.

16 טז

לַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא קָרָא נַחַל אֶשְׁכּוֹל (במדבר יג, כד), זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (ישעיה מו, י): מַגִּיד מֵרֵאשִׁית אַחֲרִית, שֶׁהַכֹּל צָפוּי הָיָה לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אֶשְׁכּוֹל אוֹהֲבוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם הָיָה, וְנִקְרָא אֶשְׁכּוֹל (במדבר יג, כד): עַל אֹדוֹת הָאֶשְׁכּוֹל שֶׁעֲתִידִין יִשְׂרָאֵל לִכְרוֹת מִמְּקוֹמוֹ.

16 (Numb. 13:24) “That place was called Wadi Eshcol”: This text is related (to Is. 46:10), “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from of old, things that have not yet happened,” in that everything is foreseen by the Holy One, blessed be He. Eshcol (according to Gen. 14:24) was Abraham's friend, and he was called Eshcol because of the grape cluster (eshkol), which Israel was going to cut from his place.

17 יז

וַיֵּלְכוּ וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל משֶׁה וְאֶל אַהֲרֹן, וַיְסַפְּרוּ לוֹ וַיֹּאמְרוּ בָּאנוּ אֶל הָאָרֶץ וגו' אֶפֶס כִּי עַז הָעָם (במדבר יג, כו כח), כָּךְ דַרְכָּן שֶׁל מְסַפְּרֵי לָשׁוֹן הָרָע, פּוֹתְחִין בְּטוֹבָה וּמַשְׁלִימִין בְּרָעָה.

17 (Numb. 13:26-28) “Then they went and came unto Moses and unto Aaron…. And they recounted to him and said, ‘We came unto the land …. However [the people who dwell in the land] are strong….’”: Such is the way of those who recount slander. They open with what is good and finish with what is ill.

18 יח

עֲמָלֵק יוֹשֵׁב בְּאֶרֶץ הַנֶּגֶב (במדבר יג, כט), מָה רָאוּ לִפְתֹּחַ בַּעֲמָלֵק, מָשָׁל לְתִינוֹק שֶׁסָּרַח וְלָקָה בָּרְצוּעָה, וּכְשֶׁמְבַקְּשִׁין לְהַפְחִידוֹ מַזְכִּירִין לוֹ הָרְצוּעָה שֶׁלָּקָה בָהּ, כָּךְ הָיָה עֲמָלֵק רְצוּעָה רָעָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. וּמָה רָאָה לֵישֵׁב לוֹ עַל הַסְּפָר עַל דֶּרֶךְ כְּנִיסָתָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל לָאָרֶץ, כָּךְ צִוָּהוּ עֵשָׂו זְקֵנוֹ לְקַדְּמָן לַדֶּרֶךְ, וְעָקַר מִמְּקוֹמוֹ וְיָשַׁב לוֹ בַּדֶּרֶךְ, (במדבר יד, מה): וַיֵּרֶד הָעֲמָלֵקִי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי, וַיַּכּוּם וַיַּכְּתוּם עַד הַחָרְמָה.

18 (Numb. 13:29) “Amalek dwells in the land [of the Negeb]”: What [reason] did they see for opening with Amalek? A parable: To what is the matter comparable? To a child who misbehaves and is beaten with a strap. When they wanted to intimidate him, they reminded him of the strap. Similarly Amalek had been an evil strap for Israel. What [reason] did he see to post himself upon the border in the way of Israel’s entrance into the land? It is simply because his ancestor, Esau, had so commanded him in order to forestall them in their way. So he uprooted [himself] from his place and posted himself on the way, as stated (Numb. 14:45) “And there went down the Amalekite, and the Canaanite, [who dwelt in that mountain] and dealt them a shattering blow at Hormah…”25On this reading, Amalek used to dwell in the mountains, but came down to block Israel’s passage.

19 יט

וַיַּהַס כָּלֵב (במדבר יג, ל), שֶׁבַּתְּחִלָּה אָמַר לָהֶם אֲנִי עִמָּכֶם בָּעֵצָה, וּבְלִבּוֹ הָיָה לוֹמַר אֱמֶת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע יד, ז ח): וָאָשֵׁב אֹתוֹ דָּבָר כַּאֲשֶׁר עִם לְבָבִי, וְאַחַי אֲשֶׁר עָלוּ עִמִּי הִמְסִיו אֶת לֵב הָעָם. וְכֵן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מֵעִיד עָלָיו, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יד, כד): וְעַבְדִּי כָלֵב עֵקֶב הָיְתָה רוּחַ אַחֶרֶת עִמּוֹ. כְּשֶׁבָּאוּ הַמְרַגְּלִים אָמְרוּ נֶאֱמָן עָלֵינוּ כָּלֵב, מִיָּד עָמַד עַל הַסַּפְסָל וְשִׁתֵּק אֶת כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהָיוּ מְצַוְּחִין עַל משֶׁה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיַּהַס כָּלֵב, וְהֵם הָיוּ סְבוּרִין שֶׁהָיָה אוֹמֵר לָשׁוֹן הָרָע, לְפִיכָךְ שָׁתְקוּ, פָּתַח וְאָמַר (במדבר יג, ל): עָלֹה נַעֲלֶה וְיָרַשְׁנוּ אֹתָהּ כִּי יָכוֹל נוּכַל לָהּ. מִיָּד חָלְקוּ כְּנֶגְדוֹ וְאָמְרוּ (במדבר יד, לא): לֹא נוּכַל לַעֲלוֹת אֶל הָעָם וגו'.

19 (Numb. 13:30) “Then Caleb hushed the people [before Moses]”: As at first he said to them, “I am of the same opinion as you”; but his heart was for speaking the truth, as stated (in Josh. 14:7), “and I brought him back word according to what was in my heart. But my brothers that were with me melted the people’s heart.”26 Sot. 35a. The Holy One, blessed be He, also testifies over him, as stated (in Numb. 14:24), “But My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him.” So when the spies came, they said, “We can trust Caleb.” Immediately he stood up on a stool27Safsal; cf. Lat.: subsellium. and had all Israel become silent from clamoring against Moses, [as stated] (in Numb. 13:30), “Then Caleb hushed the people before Moses.” Now they were thinking that he would utter slander. For that reason they were silent. He began by saying (ibid., cont.), “We should certainly go up and possess it.” Immediately when they heard this, they took issue with him and said (in Numb. 13:31–32), “We are unable to go up against this people […].”

20 כ

וַתִּשָֹּׂא כָּל הָעֵדָה וַיִּתְּנוּ אֶת קוֹלָם (במדבר יד, א), זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (משלי יח, ח): דִּבְרֵי נִרְגָּן כְּמִתְלַהֲמִים וְהֵם יָרְדוּ חַדְרֵי בָטֶן, דְּבָרִים שֶׁרָגְנוּ אַחַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, גָרְמוּ לָהֶם צָרָה גְּדוֹלָה, שֶׁאִלּוּ לֹא נִשְׁתַּוּוּ לַמְּרַגְּלִים לֹא הָיוּ לוֹקִין עִמָּהֶם, אֶלָּא הִשְׁלִימוּ אַחֲרֵיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים א, כז): וַתֵּרָגְנוּ בְאָהֳלֵיכֶם וַתֹּאמְרוּ, מַהוּ וַתֵּרָגְנוּ, תַּרְתֶּם גְּנוּת אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁקְּרָאָהּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶרֶץ טוֹבָה. וַתִּשָֹּׂא כָּל הָעֵדָה וַיִּתְּנוּ אֶת קוֹלָם, זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (ירמיה יב, ח): נָתְנָה עָלַי בְּקוֹלָהּ עַל כֵּן שְׂנֵאתִיהָ, אוֹתוֹ קוֹל שֶׁבְּכִיתֶם, גָּרַם לָכֶם לִהְיוֹת שְׂנוּאִין, וְעַל אוֹתוֹ הַדּוֹר אָמַר יְשַׁעְיָה (ישעיה יז, יא): בְּיוֹם נִטְעֵךְ תְּשַׂגְשֵׂגִי וּבַבֹּקֶר זַרְעֵךְ תַּפְרִיחִי. בַּיּוֹם שֶׁאָמַר לִטַּע אֶתְכֶם בָּאָרֶץ נַעֲשֵׂיתֶם סִיגִים, וּבַבֹּקֶר זַרְעֵךְ תַּפְרִיחִי, עַד שֶׁלֹא בָּא הַשָּׁרָב פְּרַחְתֶּם, (ישעיה יז, יא): נֵד קָצִיר בְּיוֹם נַחֲלָה, בַּיּוֹם שֶׁעָבַרְתִּי לִתֵּן לָכֶם נַחֲלַת אֲבִיכֶם, נַעֲשֵׂיתֶם קָלוֹן בָּעוֹלָם, (ישעיה יז, יא): וּכְאֵב אָנוּשׁ, זֶה הַפֻּרְעָנוּת שֶׁשְּׁלַחְתֶּם יְרוּשָׁה לְדוֹרוֹת, שֶׁבָּכוּ בְּלֵיל תִּשְׁעָה בְּאָב, וְאָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אַתֶּם בְּכִיתֶם בְּכִיָּה שֶׁל חִנָּם לְפָנַי, אֲנִי אֶקְבַּע לָכֶם בְּכִיָּה לְדוֹרוֹת, וּמִן אוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה נִגְזְרָה עַל בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁתִּתְחָרֵב, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּגְלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבֵין הָאֻמּוֹת, שֶׁכֵּן הוּא אוֹמֵר (תהלים קו, כו כז): וַיִּשָֹּׂא יָדוֹ לָהֶם לְהַפִּיל אוֹתָם בַּמִּדְבָּר, וּלְהַפִּיל זַרְעָם בַּגּוֹיִם וּלְזָרוֹתָם בָּאֲרָצוֹת, נְשִׂיאוּת יַד כְּנֶגֶד נְשִׂיאוּת קוֹל.

20 (Numb. 14:1) “Then the whole congregation raised their voice [and cried]”: This text is related (to Prov. 18:8), “The words of a murmurer are like mighty blows,28English translations usually render this unusual word as “delicacies” or something similar, but the meaning is uncertain. The present translation is derived from the context of the midrash. and they go down into the chambers of the belly.” Those words which the spies murmured against the Holy One, blessed be He, brought them misfortune for generations. As if they had not listened to the spies, they would not have been punished with them. Instead they acquiesced to them, as stated (in Deut. 1:27), “You sulked (teragnu) in your tents.” What is the meaning of “teragnu?” You sought the disgrace (TARtem GENUt) of the Land of Israel, which the Holy One, blessed be He, called a good land. (Numb. 14:1) “Then the whole congregation raised (rt.: ntn) their voices; [and that night the people wept]”: This text is related (to Jer. 12:8), “[My heritage] has set (rt.: ntn) its voice against Me; therefore I have hated (rt.: sn') it.” The very voice with which you wept caused you to be punished by enemies (rt.: sn'). Moreover, it was over this very generation that Isaiah said (in Is. 17:11), “In the day you plant, you see it flourish; and on the morning you sow, you see it bloom.” Isaiah said, “On the day that I went to plant you in the land, you produced slag; ‘and on the morning you sow, you see it bloom,’ it has flowered before the heat [of the day].” (Is 17:11, cont.) “[But the harvest flees on a day of sickness (nahalah)] and human pain”: This refers to the divine punishment that you received as a legacy for [future] generations.29Ta‘an. 29a; yTa‘an. 4:8 (or 5) (68d); Sot. 35a. Because the congregation wept in the night of the Ninth of Ab,30See Ta‘an. 4:6: FIVE [CALAMITOUS] THINGS BEFELL OUR ANCESTORS ON THE SEVENTEENTH OF TAMMUZ AND FIVE ON THE NINTH OF AB…. ON THE NINTH OF AB IT WAS DECREED AGAINST OUR ANCESTORS THAT THEY SHOULD NOT ENTER THE LAND, THE TEMPLE WAS DESTROYED THE FIRST TIME AND THE SECOND TIME, BETHAR (THE CENTER OF THE BAR COCHBA REVOLT) WAS TAKEN, AND THE CITY [OF JERUSALEM] WAS PLOWED UNDER (after this revolt, but cf. Ta‘an. 29a). the Holy One, blessed be He, has said, “You have wept for nothing in front of Me. I shall establish this night for you as [a night of] a weeping for [future] generations.” And from that hour a decree on the Temple was ordained for it to be destroyed and that the Children of Israel would go in exile among the nations. It is so stated (in Ps. 106:26-27), “So He raised His hand toward them [in an oath], to make them fall in the wilderness. And to make their seed fall among the gentiles, even to scatter them among the lands.” The raising of [the divine] hand was corresponding to the lifting up of the voice (in Numb. 14:1).

21 כא

וַיִּנוּ עַל משֶׁה וְעַל אַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵהֶם כָּל הָעֵדָה (במדבר יד, ב), אֵלּוּ סַנְהֶדְרָאוֹת (במדבר יד, ב): לוּ מַתְנוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם. מָשָׁל לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁעָלָה אֶחָד לַבִּימָה שֶׁלּוֹ לִדּוֹן, הוֹצִיא דָּבָר מִפִּיו בַּמֶּה שֶׁחִיֵּב אֶת עַצְמוֹ, הִנִּיחַ הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת הָאִילוֹגִין שֶׁלּוֹ וְחִיְּבוֹ מִפִּיו, אָמַר לוֹ בַּדִּין שֶׁהוֹצֵאתָ מִפִּיךָ בּוֹ אֲנִי דָּנְךָ, יְהֵא לְךָ כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַרְתָּ. אַף כָּךְ אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא (במדבר יד, כט): בַּמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה יִפְּלוּ פִגְרֵיכֶם (במדבר יד, כח): חַי אָנִי נְאֻם ה' אִם לֹא כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתֶּם בְּאָזְנָי כֵּן אֶעֱשֶׂה לָכֶם. הִתְחִילוּ לוֹמַר (במדבר יד, ג ט): וְלָמָּה ה' מֵבִיא אֹתָנוּ, וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו נִתְּנָה רֹאשׁ וְנָשׁוּבָה מִצְרָיְמָה, וַיִּפֹּל משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן עַל פְּנֵיהֶם לִפְנֵי כָּל קְהַל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן נוּן וְכָלֵב בֶּן יְפֻנֶּה מִן הַתָּרִים אֶת הָאָרֶץ קָרְעוּ בִּגְדֵיהֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר אִם חָפֵץ בָּנוּ ה' וְהֵבִיא אֹתָנוּ, אַךְ בַּה' אַל תִּמְרֹדוּ וְאַתֶּם, אָמְרוּ לָהֶם אֵין אַתֶּם נֶאֱמָנִים עָלֵינוּ, אַחֵינוּ חוֹשְׁשִׁים בָּנוּ יוֹתֵר מִכֶּם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים א, כח): אָנָה אֲנַחְנוּ עֹלִים אַחֵינוּ הֵמַסּוּ אֶת לְבָבֵנוּ לֵאמֹר, (במדבר יד, י): וַיֹּאמְרוּ כָּל הָעֵדָה לִרְגּוֹם אֹתָם בָּאֲבָנִים, וּמִי הֵם משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן, (במדבר יד, י): וּכְבוֹד ה' נִרְאָה, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיוּ זוֹרְקִין אֲבָנִים וְהֶעָנָן מְקַבֵּל.

21 (Numb. 14:2) “And all the Children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them”: These are the sanhedraot. (Numb. 14:2, cont.) “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt […]”: [The matter] is comparable to a king at whose tribunal31Gk.: Bema. a certain person came up for judgment. He uttered a word from his mouth by which he convicted himself. The king set aside his bill of indictment32Lat.: elogium; Gk.: elogion. and convicted him out of his own mouth. He said to him, “I am judging you by what has come out of your own mouth. So let it be for you according to what you have said.” Similarly the Holy One, blessed be He, said to them (in Numb. 14:29), “In this desert shall your carcasses fall.” (Numbers 14:28) “’As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘as they have spoken in My ears […]’”: They began to say (in Numb. 14:3–9), “And why is the Lord bringing us [unto this land…]?” They also said to each other, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces [before the whole assembly of the congregation of the Children of Israel]. Moreover, Joshua ben Nun and Caleb ben Jephunneh, of those who had explored the land, rent their clothes and spoke unto the whole assembly of the Children of Israel, …. “If the Lord is pleased with us, [He will bring us into this land]…. Only do not rebel against the Lord….” The people said to them, “We have no faith in you! Our brothers care for us more than you do.” Thus it is stated (in Deut. 1:28), “Where are we going up to? Our brothers have caused [our hearts] to melt (with fear).” (Numb. 14:10) “So the whole congregation said to stone [them with stones]”: And who was “them?” Moses and Aaron. (Ibid., cont.) “Then the glory of the Lord appeared in the tent of meeting”: [This incident] teaches that they threw stones, but the cloud intercepted them.

22 כב

וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל משֶׁה עַד אָנָה יְנַאֲצֻנִי הָעָם הַזֶּה (במדבר יד, יא), אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שְׁתֵּי צְוָחוֹת צָוַחְתִּי מִפְּנֵיכֶם, סוֹפְכֶם לִצְוֹחַ אַרְבַּע, בְּשִׁעְבּוּד מַלְכֻיּוֹת, (תהלים יג, ב ג): עַד אָנָה ה' תִּשְׁכָּחֵנִי נֶצַח עַד אָנָה תַּסְתִּיר אֶת פָּנֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי עַד אָנָה אָשִׁית עֵצוֹת בְּנַפְשִׁי עַד אָנָה יָרוּם אֹיְבִי עָלָי. צָוַחְתִּי (במדבר יד, כז): עַד מָתַי לָעֵדָה הָרָעָה, סוֹפְכֶם לִצְוֹחַ (תהלים ו, ד): וְנַפְשִׁי נִבְהֲלָה מְאֹד וְאַתָּה ה' עַד מָתָי. (במדבר יד, יב): אַכֶּנּוּ בַדֶּבֶר, אָמַר משֶׁה רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם הַבֵּט לִבְרִית אֲבוֹתָם שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּעְתָּ לָהֶם שֶׁתַּעֲמִיד מֵהֶם מְלָכִים נְבִיאִים וְכֹהֲנִים. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְאֵין אַתָּה מִבֵּינֵיהֶם (שמות לב, י): וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אוֹתְךָ לְגוֹי גָדוֹל. כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאָה משֶׁה כָּךְ עָמַד בְּמִדָּה אַחֶרֶת (במדבר יד, יג יד): וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל ה' וְשָׁמְעוּ מִצְרַיִם, וְאָמְרוּ אֶל יוֹשֵׁב הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת, יֹאמְרוּ שֶׁלֹא הָיָה בּוֹ כֹּחַ לָזוּן אוֹתָם. אָמַר לוֹ וַהֲלוֹא רָאוּ נִסִּים וּגְבוּרוֹת שֶׁעָשִׂיתִי עַל הַיָּם, אוֹמְרִים בָּנוּ הָיָה יָכוֹל לַעֲמֹד בִּשְׁלשִׁים וְאֶחָד אֵין יָכוֹל לַעֲמֹד, רִבּוֹן כָּל הָעוֹלָמִים עֲשֵׂה בִּשְׁבִילְךָ (במדבר יד, יז): וְעַתָּה יִגְדַּל נָא כֹּחַ ה', וּתְנַצֵּחַ מִדַּת רַחֲמִים לְמִדַּת הַדִּין, (במדבר יד, יז): כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ לֵאמֹר, אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ בְּאֵיזֶה מִדָּה אַתָּה דָן אֶת עוֹלָמְךָ (שמות לג, יג): הוֹדִיעֵנִי נָא אֶת דְּרָכֶיךָ, הֶעֱבַרְתָּ מִמֶּנִּי (שמות לד, ו): וַיַּעֲבֹר ה' עַל פָּנָיו וַיִּקְרָא, אוֹתָהּ הַמִּדָּה שֶׁאָמַרְתָּ לִי קַיֵּים (שמות לד, ו): ה' ה' אֵל רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן (במדבר יד, יט): סְלַח נָא. קִבֵּל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת דְּבָרָיו וְהוֹדָה לוֹ (במדבר יד, כ): וַיֹּאמֶר ה' סָלַחְתִּי כִּדְבָרֶךָ, שֶׁכֵּן עֲתִידִים הַמִּצְרִים לוֹמַר כִּדְבָרֶיךָ.

22 (Numb. 14:11) “Then the Lord said unto Moses, ‘How long ('ad-'anah) will this people scorn Me, and how long ('ad-'anah) will they have no faith in Me?’”: The Holy One, blessed be He, said, “I have uttered two cries (of 'ad-'anah) because of you. Your end shall be to cry out in the subjection of the four empires: (Ps. 13:2-3,) ‘How long ('ad-'anah), O Lord, will you forget me forever; how long ('ad'-'anah) will you hide Your face from me? How long ('ad-'anah) shall I take counsel in my soul with grief in my heart [all day]; how long ('ad-'anah) will my enemy be exalted over me?’ I cried out (in Numb. 14:27), ‘How long ('Ad-matay) shall this evil congregation [be murmuring against me]?’ Your end shall be to cry out (in Ps. 6:4), ‘My soul also is greatly dismayed; [and You, O Lord, how long ('ad-matay)]?’” (Numb. 14:12) “I will strike them with pestilence”: Moses said, “Master of the world, look at the covenant with their ancestors, to whom You swore that You would raise up from them kings, prophets, and priests!” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “But are you not one of their children?” (Ibid., cont.) “Then I will make you into a nation that is greater [and more numerous than they]!’” When Moses saw [how things were], he took a different course (in Numb. 14:13-14): “But Moses said unto the Lord, ‘When the Egyptians hear [what happened]…, they will say unto the inhabitants of this land.’” They will say, “He had no power to sustain them.” He said to him, “But have they not seen the miracles and the mighty deeds which I did for them in Egypt and by the sea?” They will say, “He was able to stand against us, [but] He was not able to stand against thirty one kings.33See Josh. 12:9-14. Master of the universe, act on Your behalf. (Numb. 14:17) “So now please let the power of the Lord increase,” and let the principle of mercy overcome the principle of justice. (Ibid., cont.) “As you have promised, saying”: I said to You, “With what principle do You judge Your world,” as stated (in Exod. 33:13) “Please make Your ways known to me.” So you removed (rt.: 'br) [the principle of justice] from me (according to Exod. 34:6), “And the Lord passed by (rt.: 'br) [before] him, and proclaimed.” Fulfill that principle of which You told me; (according to Exod. 34:6) “The Lord, the Lord is of long patience, of great kindness…” (Numb. 14:19) “Please pardon [the sin of this people].” The Holy One, blessed be He, accepted his words and conceded to him, [as stated] (Numb. 14:20), “Then the Lord said, ‘I have pardoned like your words.’” As truly in the future, Egypt will say like your words.

23 כג

וְאוּלָם חַי אָנִי (במדבר יד, כא), אִם יִרְאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים הָעֹלִים מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה (במדבר לב, יא), בֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה עִמָּהֶם בָּעֵצָה בֵּין שֶׁלֹא הָיָה עִמָּהֶם בָּעֵצָה. פָּחוֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וְלֹא הֵבִיא שְׁתֵּי שַׂעֲרוֹת בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה עִמָּהֶם בָּעֵצָה בֵּין שֶׁלֹא הָיָה עִמָּהֶם בָּעֵצָה. וְאִם הֵבִיא שְׁתֵּי שַׂעֲרוֹת וְהוּא פָּחוֹת מֵעֶשְׂרִים, הָיָה עִמָּהֶן בָּעֵצָה לֹא הָיָה נִכְנַס, וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן לֹא מֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן פָּחוֹת מִשִּׁשִּׁים שָׁנָה. בּוֹא וּרְאֵה מַה (מלאכי ג, יח): בֵּין צַדִּיק לְרָשָׁע בֵּין עֹבֵד אֱלֹהִים לַאֲשֶׁר לֹא עֲבָדוֹ. מָשָׁל לְמַטְרוֹנִיתָא שֶׁהָיְתָה לָהּ שִׁפְחָה כּוּשִׁית, וְהָלַךְ בַּעֲלָהּ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם, כָּל הַלַּיְלָה אוֹמֶרֶת אוֹתָהּ שִׁפְחָה לְאוֹתָהּ מַטְרוֹנָה אֲנִי נָאָה מִמֵּךְ וְהַמֶּלֶךְ אוֹהֵב אוֹתִי יוֹתֵר מִמֵּךְ. אָמְרָה לָהּ אוֹתָהּ מַטְרוֹנָה יָבֹא הַבֹּקֶר וְנֵדַע מִי נָאָה וּמִי שֶׁאוֹהֵב אוֹתָהּ הַמֶּלֶךְ. אַף כָּךְ אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם אוֹמְרִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֲנַחְנוּ מַעֲשֵׂינוּ יָפִים וּבָנוּ חָפֵץ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, לְכָךְ אָמַר יְשַׁעְיָה יָבוֹא הַבֹּקֶר וְאָנוּ יוֹדְעִין בְּמִי חָפֵץ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה כא, יב): אָמַר שֹׁמֵר אָתָא בֹקֶר וְגַם לָיְלָה, יָבוֹא הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא שֶׁנִּקְרָא בֹּקֶר וְאָנוּ יוֹדְעִין בְּמִי חָפֵץ, (מלאכי ג, יח): וְשַׁבְתֶּם וּרְאִיתֶם בֵּין צַדִּיק לְרָשָׁע, כְּתִיב (תהלים סב, י): אַךְ הֶבֶל בְּנֵי אָדָם כָּזָב בְּנֵי אִישׁ, אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּיא בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי לֵוִי כָּל הֲבָלִים שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל עוֹשִׂין כָּל יְמוֹת הַשָּׁנָה, (תהלים סב, י): בְּמֹאזְנַיִם לַעֲלוֹת, מוֹחֵל לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּמַזָּל מֹאזְנַיִם בְּחֹדֶשׁ תִּשְׁרֵי, (ויקרא טז, ל): כִּי בַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם לְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם.

23 (Numb. 14:21, 23) “Nevertheless, as I live [It is also written (in Numb. 32:11), “Surely none of] the people who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and up, [shall see the land].” [From] twenty years – whether one was in agreement or was not in agreement (with the spies), [he did not enter the land]. Less than twenty years, if one had not gotten two [pubic] hairs – whether one was in agreement or was not in agreement (with the spies), [he did enter the land]. If one had gotten two [pubic] hairs but was less than twenty,34On the concept that moral responsibility comes at twenty, see Rashi on Gen. 23:1. [only] if he was in agreement with them, he did not enter [the land]. But nonetheless, not one of them died at less than sixty.35I.e., the Holy One subsequently had compassion on all under twenty, so that they outlived the forty wilderness years to die in the land of Israel. So Enoch Zundel in his commentary, ‘Ets Yosef, on Numb. R. 16:23(14). Come and see the difference [as it is stated] (in Mal. 3:18), “between righteous and wicked […].” It is comparable to a certain matron36Lat.: matrona. who had a bondmaid. Now her husband went to a country overseas. All night the bondmaid said to the matron, “I am fairer than you and the king loves me more than you.” That matron said to her, “When the morning comes, you shall know who is fairer and whom the king loves.” Similarly do the nations of the world say to Israel, “As for us, our deeds are more beautiful, and us does the Holy One, blessed be He, desire.” Therefore Isaiah has said, “When the morning comes, we shall know whom the Holy One, blessed be He, desires,” as stated (in Is. 21:12), “The watchman said, ‘The morning comes […].’” When the world to come arrives, which is called morning,37See Targum Pss. 90:14; 101:8. we shall know, as stated (according to Mal. 3:18), “Then you shall again see [the difference] between righteous and wicked.” It is written (in Ps. 62:10), “But humans are mere vanity […].” R Hiyya38Since the authority generally cited as R. Hiyya lived sometime before R. Levi, the R. Hiyya cited here could not be he. This Hiyya may well be R. Hiyya the father of R. Berekhiah the Priest. said in the name of R. Levi, “All vanities which Israel does all the days of the year are (ibid., cont.) to go up (i.e., vanish) on the scales (mozenayim).” The Holy One, blessed be He, pardons them in the constellation Libra (Mozenayim), in the month of Tishri. It is so stated (in Lev. 16:30), “For on this day atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you.”

24 כד

וַיֹּאמֶר ה' עַד אָנָה יְנַאֲצֻנִי, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (משלי א, כה): וַתִּפְרְעוּ כָל עֲצָתִי וְתוֹכַחְתִּי לֹא אֲבִיתֶם (משלי א, ל): נָאֲצוּ כָּל תּוֹכַחְתִּי. מַהוּ וַתִּפְרְעוּ, אֶלָּא כָּל טוֹבָה שֶׁיָּעַצְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם קִלְקַלְתֶּם אוֹתָהּ וּפְרַעְתֶּם אוֹתָהּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַתִּפְרְעוּ כָל עֲצָתִי. מִתְּחִלָּה (שמות ג, ח): וָאֵרֵד לְהַצִּילוֹ מִיַּד מִצְרַיִם, וְאַתֶּם לֹא עֲשִׂיתֶם כֵּן, בָּאתֶם לַיָּם וּמִיָּד קִלְקַלְתֶּם אֶת הָעֵצָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים קו, ז): וַיַּמְרוּ עַל יָם בְּיַם סוּף. בְּאַלְפֵי אֲלָפִים וְרִבֵּי רְבָבוֹת שֶׁל מַלְאָכִים יָרַדְתִּי בִּשְׁבִילְכֶם, וְהָיִיתִי מוֹסֵר לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מִכֶּם שְׁנֵי מַלְאָכִים, אֶחָד חוֹגְרוֹ זֵינוֹ וְאֶחָד נוֹתֵן עֲטָרָה בְּרֹאשׁוֹ. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה דְּצִפֳּרִין אָמַר זוֹנִים אָסַר לָהֶם, וְרַבִּי סִימָאי אוֹמֵר פּוֹרְפִּירָא הִלְבִּישָׁן וְשֵׁם הַמְפֹרָשׁ חָקוּק עָלָיו, וְכָל הַיָּמִים שֶׁהָיָה בְּיָדָם לֹא הָיָה דָּבָר רָע נוֹגֵעַ בָּהֶם, וְלֹא מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת, וְלֹא דָּבָר אַחֵר, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁחָטְאוּ אָמַר לָהֶם משֶׁה (שמות לג, ה): וְעַתָּה הוֹרֵד עֶדְיְךָ, בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה (שמות לג, ד): וַיִּשְׁמַע הָעָם אֶת הַדָּבָר הָרָע הַזֶּה, מַה כְּתִיב (שמות לג, ו): וַיִּתְנַצְּלוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת עֶדְיָם, מֶה עָשָׂה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּמַתַּן תּוֹרָה הֵבִיא לְמַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת אָמַר לוֹ הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בִּרְשׁוּתְךָ חוּץ מֵאֻמָּה זוֹ שֶׁבָּחַרְתִּי לִי. אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בְּנוֹ שֶׁל רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי אָמַר מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל חִנָּם נִבְרֵאתִי בָּעוֹלָם, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בָּרָאתִי אוֹתְךָ שֶׁתְּהֵא מְשַׁכֵּל בְּעוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים חוּץ מֵאֻמָּה זוֹ שֶׁאֵין לְךָ רְשׁוּת עָלֶיהָ. רְאֵה עֵצָה שֶׁיָּעַץ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁיִּהְיוּ חַיִּים וְקַיָּמִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ד, ד): וְאַתֶּם הַדְּבֵקִים וגו', וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (שמות לב, טז): וְהַמִּכְתָּב מִכְתַּב אֱלֹהִים הוּא חָרוּת, מַהוּ חָרוּת, רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר חֵרוּת מִן הַמַּלְכֻיּוֹת, וְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה אוֹמֵר מִמַּלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת, וְרַבִּי אוֹמֵר מִן הַיִּסּוּרִין. רְאוּ עֵצָה שֶׁיָּעַץ עֲלֵיהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וּמִיָּד קִלְקְלוּ הָעֵצָה אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר: וַתִּפְרְעוּ כָל עֲצָתִי, אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי שֶׁאֵין אַתֶּם חוֹטְאִים וְתִהְיוּ חַיִּים וְקַיָּמִים כְּמוֹתִי, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֲנִי חַי וְקַיָּם לְעוֹלָם וּלְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים, (תהלים פב, ו): אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם וּבְנֵי עֶלְיוֹן כֻּלְּכֶם, כְּמַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת שֶׁאֵין מֵתִים, וּבִקַּשְׁתֶּם אַחַר הַגְּדֻלָּה הַזֹּאת לָמוּת, (תהלים פב, ז): אָכֵן כְּאָדָם תְּמוּתוּן, כְּאָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁצִּוִּיתִי אוֹתוֹ מִצְוָה אַחַת שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה אוֹתָהּ וְיִהְיֶה חַי וְקַיָּם לְעוֹלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית ג, כב): הֵן הָאָדָם הָיָה כְּאַחַד מִמֶּנּוּ, וְכֵן (בראשית א, כז): וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ, שֶׁיִּהְיֶה חַי וְקַיָּם כְּמוֹתוֹ, וְהוּא חִבֵּל מַעֲשָׂיו וּבִטֵּל גְּזֵרָתִי וְאָכַל מִן הָאִילָן, וְאָמַרְתִּי לוֹ (בראשית ג, יט): כִּי עָפָר אַתָּה, אַף אַתֶּם אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם, חִבַּלְתֶּם עַצְמְכֶם כְּאָדָם, אָכֵן כְּאָדָם תְּמוּתוּן. וּמִי גָּרַם לָהֶם כָּךְ וַתִּפְרְעוּ כָל עֲצָתִי, אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, בַּטּוֹבָה שֶׁהֵבֵאתִי עֲלֵיכֶם בָּהּ אַתֶּם מַכְעִיסִין, בָּאוּ לַמִּדְבָּר וְהֶאֱכַלְתִּי לָהֶם מָן אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, וְלֹא נִצְרַךְ אֶחָד מֵהֶם לִנְקָבָיו אוֹתָן אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, אֶלָּא שֶׁאָכְלוּ אֶת הַמָּן וְהוּא נַעֲשָׂה לָהֶם בָּשָׂר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים עח, כה): לֶחֶם אַבִּירִים אָכַל אִישׁ, וּבוֹ הִכְעִיסוּ אוֹתוֹ, אוֹמֵר זֶה לָזֶה אֵין אַתֶּם יוֹדְעִין שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָנוּ כַּמָּה יָמִים שֶׁלֹא עָשִׂינוּ צְרָכֵינוּ, וְאָדָם שֶׁאֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה צָרְכּוֹ אַרְבָּעָה יָמִים אוֹ חֲמִשָּׁה יָמִים הוּא מֵת, (במדבר כא, ה): וְנַפְשֵׁנוּ קָצָה בַּלֶּחֶם הַקְּלֹקֵל, שֶׁהָיָה קַל בְּתוֹךְ מֵעֵיהֶם. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בַּמֶּה שֶׁהֲטִיבוֹתִי לָהֶם בּוֹ הִכְעִיסוּנִי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה ה, ד): מַה לַּעֲשׂוֹת עוֹד לְכַרְמִי. הָלְכוּ הַמְּרַגְּלִים וְרָאוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ, וְאַתְּ מוֹצֵא בְּכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל הוֹלֵךְ נִכָּר הוּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה סא, ט): כָּל רֹאֵיהֶם יַכִּירוּם. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אִם רוֹאִים לָהֶם הָאֱמוֹרִיִּים מַכִּירִים הֵם אוֹתָן שֶׁהֵן יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהוֹרְגִים אוֹתָם, אֶלָּא מָה אֲנִי עוֹשֶׂה, עַל כָּל מְדִינָה וּמְדִינָה שֶׁהָיוּ הַמְרַגְּלִים נִכְנָסִים הָיָה רֹאשׁ הַמְדִינָה נִגָּף אוֹ מַלְכָּהּ הָיָה נִגָּף, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִהְיוּ עוֹסְקִים לְהוֹצִיא מֵתֵיהֶם וְאֵין נוֹתְנִים דַּעְתָּם לַמְרַגְּלִים, שֶׁלֹא יַהַרְגוּ אוֹתָן, וְהֵן הִכְעִיסוּ בּוֹ, כְּשֶׁבָּאוּ אֵצֶל משֶׁה וְאֵצֶל יִשְׂרָאֵל אָמְרוּ מָה הָאָרֶץ, בְּכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ מֵתִים הָיוּ רוֹאִים, וּמָה הֲנָיָה (במדבר יג, לב): אֶרֶץ אֹכֶלֶת יוֹשְׁבֶיהָ, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֲנִי הָיִיתִי סָבוּר שֶׁאַתֶּם נַעֲשִׂין כָּאָבוֹת (הושע ט, י): כַּעֲנָבִים בַּמִּדְבָּר, וְלֹא הָיִיתִי סָבוּר שֶׁאַתֶּם נַעֲשִׂין כִּסְדוֹם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לב, לב): כִּי מִגֶּפֶן סְדֹם גַּפְנָם, (ישעיה ה, ד): מַדּוּעַ קִוִּיתִי לַעֲשׂוֹת עֲנָבִים וַיַּעַשׂ בְּאֻשִׁים. לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר: עַד אָנָה יְנַאֲצֻנִי.

24 (Numb. 14:11) “Then the Lord said unto Moses, ‘How long will this people scorn Me?’”: This text is related (to Prov. 1:25, 30), “But you have spurned all My plan and would not accept My rebuke [….] they have despised all My rebuke.” What is the implication of “But you have spurned?” Simply that all the good which I planned for you, you have spoiled and spurned. Thus it is stated (in Prov. 1:25), “But you have spurned (rt.: pr') all My plan.” At the beginning (in Exod. 3:8), “I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians.” But you did not act [in the way I intended]. Instead you came to the sea and immediately spoiled My plan, as stated (in Ps. 106:7), “they rebelled at the sea, at the Reed Sea.” I brought down on your behalf thousands upon thousands and myriads upon myriads of angels, and I passed on two angels to each and every person in Israel: One to gird him with his weapons39Gk.: zone (“girdle”). and one to put a crown on his head.40See Lam. R. 2:13 (17); Cant. R. 4:4:1 PRK 16:3; PR 21:7; 33:10; M. Ps. 103:8. R. Judah of Sepphoris said, “He bound their weapons to them,” while R. Simoy said, “He clothed them in purple, with the Ineffable Name written upon it. As long as it was in their hand, nothing evil had power against them, neither the angel of death nor anything else.”41See Exod. R. 32:1; cf. ‘AZ 5a. But when they sinned, Moses had said to them (in Exod. 33:5), “Now then, remove your ornaments (i.e., your weapons).” At that time (according to vs. 4), ‘When the people heard this bad news.” And what is written (in vs. 6)? “So the Children of Israel stripped themselves of ornaments.” What had the Holy One done at the giving of Torah?42See Exod. R. 32:1. He had brought the angel of death and said to him, “All the world is under your authority, except this people whom I have chosen for Myself.” R. Eleazar the Son of R. Jose the Galilean said, “The angel of death said to the Holy One, ‘Have I been created in the world for nothing?’43Exod. R. 27. The Holy One said to him, ‘I created you so that you would destroy the peoples of the world except this people, over whom you have no authority over them.’” Look at the plan which the Holy One had devised concerning them for them to live and endure! Thus it is stated (in Deut. 4:4), “But you who clung to the Lord your God are all alive today.” So also it says (in Exod. 32:16), ‘and the writing was the writing of God inscribed (harut) on the tablets.” What is the meaning of harut? R. Judah says, “Freedom (herut) from the empires”; but R. Nehemiah says, “From the angel of death”; and Rabbi says, “From afflictions.” Look at the plan which the Holy One had devised for them! Then they immediately spoiled this plan [after only] forty days. It is therefore stated (in Prov. 1:25), “But you have spurned all My plan.” The Holy One said to them, “I had said that you would not sin. Instead you would live and endure like Me, just as I live and endure forever and forevermore." (According to Ps. 82:6), “I said, ‘You are masters; even all of you are children of the Most High.’” Like the ministering angels who never die. Yet after this greatness you wanted to die (according to vs. 7), “Indeed you shall die like a human (Adam),” i.e. like the first Adam, to whom I decreed one commandment which he was to do, that he might live and endure forever, as stated (in Gen. 3:22), “Behold, the human (Adam) has become like one of Us.” Similarly also (in Gen. 1:27), “And God created the human (Adam) in His own image”, so that he would live and endure like Himself. Yet he corrupted his works and nullified His decree, and he ate of the tree. Then I said to him (in Gen. 3:19), “For dust you are .” So also in your case (in Ps. 82:6), “I said, ‘You are masters.’” But you corrupted yourselves as did Adam. Surely you shall die like Adam! And who made this happen to them? (According to Prov. 1:25) “But you have spurned all my plan.” The Holy One said, “With the very good that I made for you, you provoked Me. When they came to the desert, I brought the manna down to you for forty years.” Moreover, none of them had to ease nature for those forty years. Rather when they ate the manna, it simply became flesh for them, as stated (in Ps. 78:25) “Each one ate the bread of the mighty (rt.: 'br)”;44Numb. R. 7:4; Mekhilta deRabbi Ishmael, Wayassa‘ 4 (on Exod. 16:15); Sifre to Numb. 11:4 (88); Yoma 74b. and they provoked Him with it." They began saying to each other, “Do you not know that we have had several days, without easing nature? And a person who does not ease nature for four or five days, dies; (according to Numb. 21:5), ‘our soul loathes this miserable (rt.: QLL) food.’” Because it was light (rt.: QLL) within their bowels. The Holy One said, “In whatever way I did well for them, in that way they provoked Me.” It is so stated (in Is. 5:4), “What else is there to do for My vineyard.” The spies went and looked at the land. Now you find that wherever Israel goes they are recognized. It is so stated (in Is. 61:9), “all who see them shall recognize them.” However (in the case of the spies), the Holy One said, “If they see them, they will recognize that they are Israelites and they will kill them. So what shall I do?” In the case of each and every province into which the spies entered, the head of a province was afflicted with plague, or its king was smitten with plague, in order that they would be occupied with bringing out their dead and not pay attention to the spies. Thus they would not kill them. Yet by this they provoked Me. When they came to Moses and to Israel, they said, “What is this land?” In every place they entered, they saw dead bodies. “And what is the benefit; (according to Numb. 13:32) ‘it is a land that eats up its inhabitants….’” The Holy One said, “I thought that you would become like the ancestors, [of whom it is written] (in Hos. 9:10), ‘Like grapes in the desert.’ I did not think that you would become like Sodom.” Thus it is stated (in Deut. 32:32), “For their vine is from the vine of Sodom.” (Is. 5:4) “When I hoped for it to produce grapes, why did it produce sour grapes?” It is therefore stated (in Numb. 14:11), “How long will this people scorn me?”

25 כה

אָמַר לוֹ משֶׁה (במדבר יד, יד טו): שָׁמְעוּ כִּי אַתָּה ה' בְּקֶרֶב הָעָם הַזֶּה, וְהֵמַתָּה אֶת הָעָם הַזֶּה כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד, שֶׁלֹא יִהְיוּ אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם אוֹמְרִים אֱלֹהֵי כְּנַעַן קָשִׁים הֵם מֵאֱלֹהֵי מִצְרַיִם, אֱלֹהֵיהֶן שֶׁל מִצְרַיִם שֶׁקֶר הֵם אֲבָל שֶׁל כְּנַעַן שֶׁל בַּעַל הֵם, (במדבר יד, יד-טו): וְאָמְרוּ אֶל יוֹשֵׁב, מִבִּלְתִּי יְכֹלֶת ה', מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹא הָיָה לוֹ יְכוֹלֶת לְהוֹסִיף לָהֶם מְזוֹנוֹת הוֹצִיאָם לַהֲמִיתָם בַּמִּדְבָּר, וְאֵין לְשׁוֹן יְכֹלֶת אֶלָּא מְזוֹנוֹת, כְּמָה דְתֵימָא (מלכים א ה, כה): עֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף כֹּר חִטִּים מַכֹּלֶת לְבֵיתוֹ. דָּבָר אַחֵר, שֶׁלֹא יִהְיוּ אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם נוֹהֲגִין בְּךָ כְּאַכְזָרִי, לוֹמַר בָּא דּוֹר הַמַּבּוּל וְאִבְּדָן, בָּא דּוֹר הַפְלָגָה וּבָאוּ סְדוֹמִים וּבָאוּ מִצְרִים וְאִבְּדָן, אַף אֵלּוּ שֶׁקְּרָאָן (שמות ד, כב): בְּנִי בְּכוֹרִי, הֲרֵי הוּא מְכַלֶּה אוֹתָן, כַּלִּילִית הַזּוֹ שֶׁאֵינָהּ מוֹצְאָה כְּלוּם וְהִיא הוֹפֶכֶת עַל בָּנֶיהָ, כָּךְ מִבִּלְתִּי יְכֹלֶת ה'. אָמַר משֶׁה רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים (במדבר יד, יד): [כי] אֲשֶׁר עַיִן בְּעַיִן נִרְאָה אַתָּה, מַהוּ [כי] אֲשֶׁר עַיִן בְּעַיִן, אָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ הֲרֵי מֹאזְנַיִם מְעֻיָּן, אַתָּה אוֹמֵר (במדבר יד, יב): אַכֶּנּוּ בַדֶּבֶר, וַאֲנִי אוֹמֵר (במדבר יד, יט): סְלַח נָא, נִרְאֶה שֶׁל מִי עוֹמֵד, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יד, כ): וַיֹּאמֶר ה' סָלַחְתִּי כִּדְבָרֶיךָ, אַף עַל פִּי כֵן לֹא בָּטְלָה גְּזֵרָתוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁאָמַר לְמשֶׁה (במדבר יד, יב): וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אֹתְךָ לְגוֹי גָדוֹל, הֶעֱמִיד מִמֶּנּוּ שִׁשִּׁים רִבּוֹא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברי הימים א כג, יז): וּבְנֵי רְחַבְיָה רָבוּ לְמָעְלָה. וְלֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְכַנְסָן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה מט, יב): הִנֵּה אֵלֶּה מֵרָחוֹק יָבֹאוּ וְהִנֵּה אֵלֶּה מִצָּפוֹן וּמִיָּם וְאֵלֶּה מֵאֶרֶץ סִינִים, וְהַגָּלֻיּוֹת בָּאִים עִמָּהֶם וְהַשְּׁבָטִים שֶׁהֵם נְתוּנִים לִפְנִים מִן סַמְבַּטְיוֹן וְשֶׁלִּפְנִים מִן הָרֵי חשֶׁךְ, הֵם מִתְכַּנְסִין וּבָאִין לִיְרוּשָׁלָיִם. אָמַר יְשַׁעְיָה (ישעיה מט, יב, ט): לֵאמֹר לַאֲסוּרִים צֵאוּ, אֵלּוּ שֶׁנְּתוּנִים לִפְנִים מִן סַמְבַּטְיוֹן, (ישעיה מט, ט): לַאֲשֶׁר בַּחשֶׁךְ הִגָּלוּ, אֵלּוּ שֶׁנְּתוּנִים לִפְנִים מִן עָנָן שֶׁל חשֶׁךְ, (ישעיה מט, ט): עַל דְּרָכִים יִרְעוּ וּבְכָל שְׁפָיִים מַרְעִיתָם, אֵלּוּ שֶׁנְּתוּנִים בְּדָפְנוֹ שֶׁל אַנְטוֹכְיָא, אוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה הֵם נִגְאָלִים וּבָאוּ לְצִיּוֹן בְּשִׂמְחָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה נא, יא): וּפְדוּיֵי ה' יְשׁוּבוּן וגו'.

25 Moses said to Him (in vss. 14, 15), “Now they have heard that You, O Lord, are in the midst of this people. If then You slay this people like one man.” So the nations of the world would not say, “The gods of Canaan are stronger than the gods of Egypt; the gods of Egypt are false, but those of Canaan are of land watered by rain (i.e., of Ba'al).” (Numb. 14:14, 16) “They will say unto the inhabitants of this land […] Because he was not able (yekholet),” i.e., because He did not have the means to supply enough food, He brought them out to have them die in the desert. Now the word, yekholet can only refer to food, since it is stated (in I Kings 5:25 [11]), “and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat as food (makkolet) for his household.” Another interpretation: Lest the nations of the world think of You as cruel. That is to say: When the generation of the flood came, He destroyed them. And similarly, when the generation of the dispersion came, and when the Sodomites came, and when the Egyptians came, He destroyed them And also in the case of these whom He has called (in Exod. 4:22), “My first-born son,” He is destroying (mekhalleh) them! He is like that Lilith (keLilit). When she does not find anything else, she turns on children. So (in Numb. 14:16), “Because the Lord was not able.” Moses said, “Sovereign of the world, (according to vs. 14) ‘[that…] You […], o Lord, are seen face to face (literally: eye to eye).’” What is the meaning of “[that...] are seen eye to eye ('YN B'YN)?”45Similarly Deut. R. 5:13. R. [Simeon ben] Laqish said, “See, the scales are balanced (rt.: 'YN).” “You say (in Numb. 14:12), “’I will smite them with pestilence’; but I am saying (in vs. 19), ‘Please pardon.’ We shall see whose utterance will stand.” It is so stated (in Numb. 14:20), “Then the Lord said, ‘I have pardoned them as you asked.’” But nevertheless, the decree of the Holy One which he had uttered to Moses (in Numb. 14:12), “then I will make you into a nation that is greater,” that decree was not repealed. He raised up from him sixty myriads, as stated (in I Chron. 23:17), “but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous.” And in the world to come the Holy One shall gather them. Thus it is stated (in Is. 49:12), “Look! These are coming from afar. And look! These are from the north and from the sea (i.e., from the west), and these from the land of Sinim.” Moreover, the exiles shall come with them, also the tribes who are located beyond the River Sambatyon46Gk.: Sabbatikos (“Sabbatical”). See Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Exod. 34:10; ySanh. 10:6 or 5 (29c); Gen. R. 73:6; Lam. R. 2:5 (9); PR 31:10; above, Gen. 10:17, it was beyond, or on an island in, this legendary river that at least some of the ten tribes were exiled. See also Tanh., Exod. 9:33; Gen. R. 11:5, PR 23:8; according to which the river carried stones in its current during the whole week but rested on the Sabbath. See also Pliny, HN 31:18 (24); Sanh. 65b. Cf. Josephus, BJ 7:5:1 (96–99), according to whom the Sabbath was the only day on which the river flowed. and beyond the hills of darkness.47Cf. Ezek. 34:12. They shall be gathered and come to Jerusalem. Isaiah said (in Is. 49:9), “Saying to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’” i.e., to those who are located beyond the Sambatyon. (Ibid., cont.,) “To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves,’”48higgalu. the verb can also mean “be exiled. these are those who are located beyond the cloud of darkness. (Ibid., cont.,) “They shall pasture along the roads, and in all the heights shall be their pasture,” these are those who are located in Daphne of Antioch.49According to ySanh. 10:6 or 5 (29c) the exiles were divided into three parts: one beyond the Sambatyon River, one to Daphne at Antioch, and one into a cloud cover. At that time they shall be redeemed and come to Zion with gladness, as stated (in Is. 51:11), “So let those ransomed by the Lord return [and come to Zion with exaltation, with joy everlasting upon their heads. Let them attain joy and gladness; may sorrow and sighing flee].”

26 כו

עַד מָתַי וגו' (במדבר יד, כז), הֲלָכָה תִּינוֹק שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ אֶבֶן בְּשַׁבָּת מַהוּ לְטַלְטְלוֹ, שָׁנוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ נוֹטֵל אָדָם אֶת בְּנוֹ וְהָאֶבֶן בְּיָדוֹ, כַּלְכָּלָה וְאֶבֶן בְּתוֹכָהּ. מִדּוֹר הַמִּדְבָּר אַתְּ לָמֵד, שֶׁהָיָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נוֹשְׂאָם בַּמִּדְבָּר כִּבְיָכוֹל (דברים א, לא): כַּאֲשֶׁר יִשָֹּׂא אִישׁ אֶת בְּנוֹ, וְהָיְתָה עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים בְּיָדָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (נחמיה ט, יח): כִּי עָשׂוּ לָהֶם עֵגֶל מַסֵּכָה. וְכֵן אַתְּ מוֹצֵא כְּשֶׁעָבְרוּ בַּיָּם צַלְמוֹ שֶׁל מִיכָה עָבַר עִמָּהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (זכריה י, יא): וְעָבַר בַּיָּם צָרָה, וּבְכָל כָּךְ לֹא הִנִּיחָן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וְאָמַר לְמשֶׁה קָרַעְתִּי לָהֶם אֶת הַיָּם וְהִכְעִיסוּנִי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים עח, מ): כַּמָּה יַמְרוּהוּ, וְאַף כָּאן הוֹצִיאוּ עַל הָאָרֶץ שֵׁם רָע וְאֵינִי יָכוֹל לִסְבֹּל, עַד מָתַי אֶהְיֶה סוֹבֵל לָהֶם, עַד מָתַי לָעֵדָה הָרָעָה.

26 (Numb. 14:27) “How long […]”: A legal teaching: When a baby has a stone in his hand on the Sabbath, is it permissible to pick him up [on the Sabbath]? Thus have our masters taught (in Shab. 21:1): A person may pick up one's child, even with a stone in his hand, or a basket (of fruit) with a stone inside it. You have learned from the generation of the wilderness that the Holy One, as it were, carried them up in the wilderness, (as in Deut. 1:31) “as one carries his child,” yet there was an object of idolatry in their hand.50Corresponding to the stone in the hand of the child. Thus it is stated (in Neh. 9:18), “as they had made themselves a molten calf.” And so you find that, when they crossed in the sea, Micah's image (of Jud. 17:3–4) crossed with them, as stated (in Zech. 10:11), “And a rival wife51Tsarah. The Midrash understands the word in this sense, although most translations follow the other meaning of tsarah, i.e., “affliction,” “distress,” or the like. So also below, Deut. 4:14. shall cross in the sea.”52Mekhilta deRabbi Ishmael, Pisha 14 on Exod. 12:41; Sanh. 103b; M. Pss. 101:2; Exod. R. 41:1; also Mekhilta deRabbi Ishmael, Wayassa‘ 1 on Exod. 15:22; ySuk. 4:3 (54c); see ARN, A, 34. Still with all this, the Holy One did not forsake them. He said to Moses, “I have done a lot of good things with them; yet they are provoking Me a lot. I parted the sea for them; they provoked Me,” as stated (in Pss. 78:40), “How often did they defy Him.” Here also they brought a bad name upon the land. I am not able to endure. How long shall I endure them? [Ergo] (in Numb. 14:27), “How long shall this evil congregation?”

27 כז

דָּבָר אַחֵר, עַד מָתַי, זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (מלאכי א, יא): כִּי מִמִּזְרַח שֶׁמֶשׁ וְעַד מְבוֹאוֹ גָּדוֹל שְׁמִי, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם מְכַבְּדִין אוֹתִי, וְאַתֶּם כַּמָּה עָשִׂיתִי נִסִּים לָכֶם וּמַכְעִיסִין אַתֶּם אוֹתִי. רְצוֹנְךָ לֵידַע, עֶגְלוֹן מֶלֶךְ מוֹאָב אָדָם עָרֵל הָיָה, וְנִכְנַס אֵהוּד בֶּן גֵּרָא אֶצְלוֹ כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִזְכִּיר לוֹ שְׁמִי חָלַק לִי כָּבוֹד וְעָמַד לוֹ מִכִּסְאוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שופטים ג, כ): וַיֹּאמֶר אֵהוּד דְּבַר אֱלֹהִים לִי אֵלֶיךָ, וַיָּקָם מֵעַל הַכִּסֵּא, לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: כִּי מִמִּזְרַח וגו', עָלֶיךָ אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם מְכַבְּדִין אוֹתִי וְחוֹלְקִים לִי כָּבוֹד, וְאַתֶּם מַכְעִיסִין אוֹתִי וַאֲנִי טוֹעֵן אֶתְכֶם, עַד מָתַי אֲנִי סוֹבֵל, עַד מָתַי לָעֵדָה הָרָעָה. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כִּבְיָכוֹל אָדָם קוֹנֶה לוֹ עֶבֶד שֶׁיְהֵא הָעֶבֶד נוֹטֵל הַפַּנָּס וּמֵאִיר לַקּוֹנֶה, וַאֲנִי לֹא עָשִׂיתִי כֵן, אֶלָּא אַתֶּם עֲבָדַי (ויקרא כה, נה): כִּי לִי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדִים, וַאֲנִי נוֹטֵל אֶת הַפַּנָּס וּמֵאִיר לָכֶם. דָּבָר אַחֵר, בְּנֹהַג שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם אָדָם קוֹנֶה עֶבֶד שֶׁאִם יֵצֵא לַדֶּרֶךְ יְהֵא עַבְדוֹ קוֹדֵם וּמְתַקֵּן לוֹ אֶטִימָסִיָּה, וַאֲנִי לֹא עָשִׂיתִי כֵן אֶלָּא אַתֶּם עֲבָדַי וַאֲנִי הָיִיתִי מְתַקֵּן לָכֶם אֶטִימָסִיָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר י, לג): וַאֲרוֹן בְּרִית ה' וגו' לָתוּר לָהֶם מְנוּחָה. דָּבָר אַחֵר, בְּנֹהַג שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם אָדָם קוֹנֶה עֶבֶד שֶׁיְהֵא עַבְדוֹ אוֹפֶה לוֹ לֶחֶם, וַאֲנִי לֹא עָשִׂיתִי כֵן, אַתֶּם עֲבָדַי וַאֲנִי אוֹפֶה לָכֶם לֶחֶם מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (תהלים עח, כה): לֶחֶם אַבִּירִים אָכַל אִישׁ.

27 Another interpretation (of Numb. 14:27), “How long”: This text is related (to Mal. 1:11), “For from the rising of the sun [even] to where it sets, My name shall be great among the gentiles.” The Holy One said, “The nations of the world honor Me; but as for you, how many miracles have I performed for you? Still you provoke Me. Do you want to know [the facts]? Eglon, king of Moab, was uncircumcised. Then Ehud ben Gera entered where he was; and as soon as he mentioned My name to him, he showed Me honor and rose from his seat,” as stated (in Jud. 3:20), “then Ehud said, ‘I have a word from God for you’; so he arose from his seat.” This was to fulfill what was said (in Mal. 1:11), “For from the rising [of the sun to where it sets my name shall be great among the gentiles].” The Holy One said, “The nations of the world honor Me; and they show Me respect. Yet when you provoke Me, I plead with you. How long do I tolerate you?” (Numb. 14:27) “How long shall this evil congregation?” The Holy One said, “As it were, someone buys himself a servant, so that the servant may take the lantern53Gk.: phanos. and give light to the one who bought him; but I did not do so. Rather, though you are My servants, [as stated] (in Lev. 25:55), ‘For to Me the Children of Israel are servants,’ I have taken the lantern and given light to them.” Another interpretation (of Numb. 14:27): By universal custom one buys himself a servant so that, if he sets out on the road, his slave will go ahead and prepare for him safe and well supplied quarters;54Gk.: etoimasia (“preparation”). but I have not done so. Rather, though you are My servants, I prepared quarters for you, as stated (in Numb. 10:33), “and the ark of the covenant of the Lord [traveled ahead of them three days' journey] to seek out a resting place for them.” Another interpretation (of Numb. 14:27): By universal custom one buys himself a servant so that his servant will bake bread for him, but I did not do so. Rather, though you are My servants, I baked for you bread from the heavens.” And so it says (in Ps. 78:25), “Each one ate the bread of the mighty.”

28 כח

אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה אֲכַלֶּה אוֹתָם מִלְּפָנַי, אָמַר לְפָנָיו רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים אַתָּה מַאֲרִיךְ אַף, וְעֶבֶד אִם יִהְיוּ מַעֲשָׂיו טוֹבִים וִיהֵא שׁוֹמֵעַ לְרַבּוֹ וִיהֵא רַבּוֹ מִסְתַּכֵּל בּוֹ בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת, אֵין מַחֲזִיקִין לְרַבּוֹ טוֹבָה, וְאֵימָתַי הֵם מַחֲזִיקִין, בִּזְּמַן שֶׁהָעֶבֶד שֶׁל תַּרְבּוּת רָעָה וְרַבּוֹ מִסְתַּכֵּל בּוֹ בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת. כָּךְ אַתָּה אַל תַּבֵּט בִּקְשֵׁה עָרְפָּם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ט, כז): אַל תֵּפֶן אֶל קְשִׁי הָעָם הַזֶּה. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּשְׁבִילְךָ אֶסְלַח לָהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר יד, כ): וַיֹּאמֶר ה' סָלַחְתִּי כִּדְבָרֶךָ.

28 The Holy One said to Moses, “I am exterminating them from before Me.” Moses said to Him, “Sovereign of the Universe, in the case of a servant, if his deeds are good so that his master looks at him with a friendly face, one does not give his master any credit. So when would they give him credit? When the servant's conduct is evil, and then his master looks at him with a friendly face. So also in Your case, pay no attention to their stiff neck.” Thus it is stated (in Deut. 9:27), “pay no attention to the stubbornness of this people.” [So] the Holy One said to him. “Because of you, I am forgiving them.” It is so stated (in Numb. 14:20), “And the Lord said, ‘I have pardoned them as you asked.’”