The Rav spoke about how great the Dor Hamidbar was. But if so, how can we understand the lack of emunah demonstrated in this week’s parsha (Shelach)?
Which lack of emunah?
They didn’t trust Hashem to bring them into Eretz Yisroel.
If the generation of the wilderness were so great, why was there a revolt in the times of the spies?
Now you should understand that there are certain principles of correct behavior that everybody should cling to at all times. One of these principles is pikuach nefesh. We have to save lives. Jewish lives are too precious to squander.
Hashem told Moshe to send meraglim to spy out the land and everybody understood that the purpose was to see the feasibility of coming into the land. Otherwise, why send meraglim? If no matter what the report will be they have to march ahead, so why should they send spies? It’s a waste of time.
So the answer is that they understood that if it’s going to be an unfavorable report, they would have to find ways and means of dealing with the situation. It’s common sense.
Now, they understood that eventually Hakodosh Boruch Hu would give them the land but to come now and make a frontal attack on a country that was so fortified with cities bristling with armaments, with big walls and a powerful populace, it would be suicide.
But the sin of the meraglim was that they gave advice to the people. They shouldn’t have given them advice – that wasn’t their job. They should have reported and then they should have stepped back and kept quiet. But they said that it’s too dangerous to try. They weren’t expected to say that.
Now, at that time there was an overdose of caution. Pikuach nefesh, certainly, but the people have to know that if Moshe Rabbeinu who is the oheiv Yisrael and he heard the report and he understands the pros and cons and he is the shaliach Hashem and he’s telling them b’sheim Hashem to go, so you go. Good; we received the report and we’ll have to proceed with caution. We’ll have to plan properly how to go in the way that’s safest so that there shouldn’t be a loss of life; but we’ll have to go ahead anyhow. They should have overcome their fears. But because the meraglim, who were men of great influence, injected a note of terror into the people, so it became, to a large part of the people, a panic.
Now don’t think everybody panicked. Kaleiv didn’t panic. Yehoshua didn’t panic. You can be sure Betzalel didn’t panic. Miriam didn’t panic. There were a lot of good Jews who were willing to follow Moshe Rabbeinu. But there were some people who said they didn’t want to go now because of the report of the meraglim. And that was the sin of the meraglim.
Now, the truth is had it been in our generation, it wouldn’t have been a sin at all. That’s the principle of the Kuzari. The sin is made great in accordance with the greatness of the people. For them, for those great people, it was considered a sin. For us, if we would refuse to go to Eretz Yisrael because it’s occupied, inhabited by a dense population of well-armed people, there would be nothing wrong. Nothing wrong. But since there was a Moshe Rabbeinu, and it was al pi Hashem and because they were a great generation that saw nissim and nifla’os of Yetzias Mitzrayim, so as far as their greatness was concerned, it was considered an error and they were blamed for it.
TAPE # 413