(Haftara: Yehoshua 2, 1-24)
(Pirkay Avot 3)
1. [13:18-20] “And you will see the land…” It seems that the spies were only supposed to bring back military information. However, they also made an emotional evaluation, and therefore the mission was very unsuccessful. Was it Moshe’s fault because his instructions were unclear [13:17-20], or was the failure the fault of the spies?
2. [13:27-29] “…we are not able to go up to the land because they are stronger than us.” It seems that the sin of the spies was that they discouraged the Israelites. In the Torah, “discouraging” is not a specific sin (although it may not be a nice thing to do). Why is the discouragement of the spies considered such a serious sin?
3. [Yehoshua 2:4] “And the woman took the two men and she hid them…” Rav Hertz (England, 1872-1946) says that Rachav hid the spies because “the oriental concept of hospitality demands protection for the guest at whatever cost”. This also happened when Lot protected the angels from the townspeople [Breishit 18:8]. Should this be a Torah value—that one should always protect his or her guests at every cost?
4. [Yehoshua 2:15] “…go to the mountain and hide yourselves there for three days…” Rachav, the prostitute, is kind, brave, intelligent and well-informed in military matters. Why doesn’t the author of this text worry that we might come to value and respect prostitutes?
5. [Pirkay Avot 3:3] “Three who eat at one table and do not say words of Torah, it’s as if they ate sacrifices to the dead…” People come together for many purposes. Why does this mishna focus specifically on people who eat together?
When one asks for something in prayer, one should ask that the evil and the darkness should be removed from the world, and goodness and the light of Godly life should be increased in their fullness. These things don’t just fix one area of life, but they fix everything which is deficient.
–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel..
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg
And this study page is also dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker