By Dovi Scheiner
Egypt and wandering the desert, the ultimate destination of the Jewish people
was the Land of Israel. Preparing for entrance to the land, Moshe Rabbeinu
dispatched twelve men, one man for each tribe, to spy out the land.
the spies had a hidden agenda. Having grown to enjoy their miraculous desert
life, replete with manna from heaven and water from the Well of Miriam, they
held no desire to lead the people onward. "So they brought forth to the
Children of Israel an evil report on the land that they had spied out, saying,
‘The land through which we have passed, to spy it out, is a land that devours
slanderous account by the spies greatly angered Hashem, Who responded by barring
the generation from entry to the Land of Israel, forcing them to live out their
lives in the desert!
wait, isn’t that what the spies wanted in the first place?! To remain in the
desert, the people’s culinary and security needs provided for, would seem to
amount to no punishment at all!
spies’ wish to remain in the desert was actually motivated by righteousness.
While in the desert, the Jewish people were free to serve G-d and study His
Torah without distractions, their every material need provided for. Entrance to
the Land of Israel would have limited the time available to them to serve G-d in
this manner. The people thrust into the role of pioneering would have had to
toil in menial labor: "for six years you shall sow your field and for six
years you shall prune your vineyard."
only problem with their refusal to enter the Land of Israel was their desire to
serve G-d as they wished, and not as G-d now wished to be served.
here the problem was at the same time the solution. For only by continuing to
serve G-d in the way they knew best could the people grow to appreciate the
reality of a better way. G-d punished the Jewish people by granting them exactly
what they had hoped for, confident that in this way He would soon be getting
exactly what He wanted!
from Likkutei Sichos vol. 33, Shlach.)
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