Why did the Meraglim, the Spies, advise the Bnei Yisroel not to go into Eretz Canaan?
The meraglim were kindhearted people who were afraid that to enter Eretz Yisrael would mean a loss of life. And so they advised, “We can’t do it right now. Let’s wait.”
Now the Torah doesn’t tell us everything they said. We have to put in water ourselves – it’s only the dehydrated words that we find in the Torah. But their purpose was to save a loss of Jewish life. They understood that they would win—was no question they believed they would win—but it would be at the expense of human life! And therefore, it was their hachra’a not to make the step now. It’s too dangerous to do it right now.
But Hakadosh Baruch Hu said that itself is a coldness. Enthusiasm begets confidence in emunah and had they had more enthusiasm for Me, for My service, then they would have been willing to begin the conquest right now.
And this coldness, that’s everything because it’s a question of ahavas Hashem. Are you for Hakadosh Baruch Hu all the way? Are you 100% or are you less than 100%? And how much less makes a difference. Because when a person is really enthusiastic, he finds ways and means of doing things.
The Mesillas Yesharim says as follows. He brings a passuk from Mishlei. It’s speaking there about a lazy man who is being invited to come to the beis medrash. “Come and learn tonight,” we invite him. So the lazy man says “ארי בדרך – I’m worried that there’s a lion on the road, שחל בין הרחובות – there’s a wild beast in the street. There are hold-up men in the street; I can’t go.” That’s what he says.
But the truth is that when he’s being called to a party, he comes. He forgets about the wild men in the street. So the Mesillas Yesharim says כי אין היראה גורמת את העצלה אלא העצלה גורמת את היראה – it’s not that the fear causes him to resist, to be lazy. It’s the laziness that causes the fear. ֿ
Had the meraglim been enthusiastic enough, they would have had other cheshbonos. They wouldn’t have had these calculations. And that’s why they were criticized.
TAPE # 7 (December 1973)