TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
NEVI'IM
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Numbers 13

1Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying,

אוַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

2“Send men to scout the land of Canaan, which I am giving to B'nei Yisrael; send one man from each of their ancestral tribes, each one a chieftain among them.”

בשְׁלַח־לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים וְיָתֻרוּ אֶת־אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִי נֹתֵן לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אִישׁ אֶחָד אִישׁ אֶחָד לְמַטֵּה אֲבֹתָיו תִּשְׁלָחוּ כֹּל נָשִׂיא בָהֶם׃

3So Moshe, by Hashem's command, sent them out from the wilderness of Paran, all the men being leaders of the Israelites.

גוַיִּשְׁלַח אֹתָם מֹשֶׁה מִמִּדְבַּר פָּארָן עַל־פִּי יְהֹוָה כֻּלָּם אֲנָשִׁים רָאשֵׁי בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵמָּה׃

4And these were their names: From the tribe of Reuven, Shamua son of Zaccur.

דוְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹתָם לְמַטֵּה רְאוּבֵן שַׁמּוּעַ בֶּן־זַכּוּר׃

5From the tribe of Shimon, Shafat son of Hori.

הלְמַטֵּה שִׁמְעוֹן שָׁפָט בֶּן־חוֹרִי׃

6From the tribe of Yehuda, Kalev son of Jephunneh.

ולְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה כָּלֵב בֶּן־יְפֻנֶּה׃

7From the tribe of Yissachar, Yigal son of Yosef.

זלְמַטֵּה יִשָּׂשכָר יִגְאָל בֶּן־יוֹסֵף׃

8From the tribe of Efraim, Hoshea son of Nun.

חלְמַטֵּה אֶפְרָיִם הוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן־נוּן׃

9From the tribe of Binyamin, Palti son of Rafu.

טלְמַטֵּה בִנְיָמִן פַּלְטִי בֶּן־רָפוּא׃

10From the tribe of Zevulun, Gadiel son of Sodi.

ילְמַטֵּה זְבוּלֻן גַּדִּיאֵל בֶּן־סוֹדִי׃

11From the tribe of Yosef, namely, the tribe of Menashe, Gadi son of Susi.

יאלְמַטֵּה יוֹסֵף לְמַטֵּה מְנַשֶּׁה גַּדִּי בֶּן־סוּסִי׃

12From the tribe of Dan, Amiel son of Gemalli.

יבלְמַטֵּה דָן עַמִּיאֵל בֶּן־גְּמַלִּי׃

13From the tribe of Asher, Setur son of Michael.

יגלְמַטֵּה אָשֵׁר סְתוּר בֶּן־מִיכָאֵל׃

14From the tribe of Naftali, Nachbi son of Vophsi.

ידלְמַטֵּה נַפְתָּלִי נַחְבִּי בֶּן־וָפְסִי׃

15From the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Machi.

טולְמַטֵּה גָד גְּאוּאֵל בֶּן־מָכִי׃

16Those were the names of the men whom Moshe sent to scout the land; but Moshe changed the name of Hoshea son of Nun to Yehoshua.

טזאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַח מֹשֶׁה לָתוּר אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וַיִּקְרָא מֹשֶׁה לְהוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן־נוּן יְהוֹשֻׁעַ׃

17When Moshe sent them to scout the land of Canaan, he said to them, “Go up there into the Negev and on into the hill country,

יזוַיִּשְׁלַח אֹתָם מֹשֶׁה לָתוּר אֶת־אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם עֲלוּ זֶה בַּנֶּגֶב וַעֲלִיתֶם אֶת־הָהָר׃

18and see what kind of country it is. Are the people who dwell in it strong or weak, few or many?

יחוּרְאִיתֶם אֶת־הָאָרֶץ מַה־הִוא וְאֶת־הָעָם הַיֹּשֵׁב עָלֶיהָ הֶחָזָק הוּא הֲרָפֶה הַמְעַט הוּא אִם־רָב׃

19Is the country in which they dwell good or bad? Are the towns they live in open or fortified?

יטוּמָה הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־הוּא יֹשֵׁב בָּהּ הֲטוֹבָה הִוא אִם־רָעָה וּמָה הֶעָרִים אֲשֶׁר־הוּא יוֹשֵׁב בָּהֵנָּה הַבְּמַחֲנִים אִם בְּמִבְצָרִים׃

20Is the soil rich or poor? Is it wooded or not? And take pains to bring back some of the fruit of the land.”—Now it happened to be the season of the first ripe grapes.

כוּמָה הָאָרֶץ הַשְּׁמֵנָה הִוא אִם־רָזָה הֲיֵשׁ־בָּהּ עֵץ אִם־אַיִן וְהִתְחַזַּקְתֶּם וּלְקַחְתֶּם מִפְּרִי הָאָרֶץ וְהַיָּמִים יְמֵי בִּכּוּרֵי עֲנָבִים׃

21They went up and scouted the land, from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, at Lebo-hamath.

כאוַיַּעֲלוּ וַיָּתֻרוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ מִמִּדְבַּר־צִן עַד־רְחֹב לְבֹא חֲמָת׃

22They went up into the Negev and came to Chevron, where lived Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the Anakites.—Now Chevron was founded seven years before Zoan of Egypt.—

va-ya-a-LU va-NE-gev va-ya-VO ad khev-RON v'-SHAM a-khi-MAN shay-SHAI v'-tal-MAI y'-lee-DAY ha-a-NAK v'-khev-RON SHE-va sha-NEEM niv-ni-TAH lif-NAY TZO-an mitz-RA-yim

כבוַיַּעֲלוּ בַנֶּגֶב וַיָּבֹא עַד־חֶבְרוֹן וְשָׁם אֲחִימַן שֵׁשַׁי וְתַלְמַי יְלִידֵי הָעֲנָק וְחֶבְרוֹן שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים נִבְנְתָה לִפְנֵי צֹעַן מִצְרָיִם׃

23They reached the wadi Eshcol, and there they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes—it had to be borne on a carrying frame by two of them—and some pomegranates and figs.

כגוַיָּבֹאוּ עַד־נַחַל אֶשְׁכֹּל וַיִּכְרְתוּ מִשָּׁם זְמוֹרָה וְאֶשְׁכּוֹל עֲנָבִים אֶחָד וַיִּשָּׂאֻהוּ בַמּוֹט בִּשְׁנָיִם וּמִן־הָרִמֹּנִים וּמִן־הַתְּאֵנִים׃

24That place was named the wadi Eshcol because of the cluster that the Israelites cut down there.

כדלַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא קָרָא נַחַל אֶשְׁכּוֹל עַל אֹדוֹת הָאֶשְׁכּוֹל אֲשֶׁר־כָּרְתוּ מִשָּׁם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

25At the end of forty days they returned from scouting the land.

כהוַיָּשֻׁבוּ מִתּוּר הָאָרֶץ מִקֵּץ אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם׃

26They went straight to Moshe and Aharon and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran, and they made their report to them and to the whole community, as they showed them the fruit of the land.

כווַיֵּלְכוּ וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל־כָּל־עֲדַת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל־מִדְבַּר פָּארָן קָדֵשָׁה וַיָּשִׁיבוּ אוֹתָם דָּבָר וְאֶת־כָּל־הָעֵדָה וַיַּרְאוּם אֶת־פְּרִי הָאָרֶץ׃

27This is what they told him: “We came to the land you sent us to; it does indeed flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.

vai-sa-p'-ru LO va-YO-m'-RU BA-nu el ha-A-retz a-SHER sh'-lakh-TA-nu v'-GAM za-VAT kha-LAV u-d'-VASH HEE v'-zeh pir-YAH

כזוַיְסַפְּרוּ־לוֹ וַיֹּאמְרוּ בָּאנוּ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר שְׁלַחְתָּנוּ וְגַם זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבַשׁ הִוא וְזֶה־פִּרְיָהּ׃

 13:27   This is what they told him 

The spies’ slanderous report against Eretz Yisrael is one of the worst, if not the single gravest, sin described in the Bible. Moshe sends one representative from each tribe to scout out the land, and ten of the twelve return with a negative report. Only Kalev and Yehoshua have faith in Hashem and speak positively about the Land of Israel. Whereas Hashem forgives many sins throughout the Bible, slandering Eretz Yisrael is unacceptable, and the entire generation is punished for accepting the report. They are condemned to wander in the desert for forty years until the entire generation of the spies dies, as they no longer deserve to enter the Promised Land. Like Kalev and Yehoshua, we must not fall into the trap of criticizing the greatest of all God’s gifts. Rather, we must speak positively about Israel at every opportunity.

28However, the people who inhabit the country are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large; moreover, we saw the Anakites there.

כחאֶפֶס כִּי־עַז הָעָם הַיֹּשֵׁב בָּאָרֶץ וְהֶעָרִים בְּצֻרוֹת גְּדֹלֹת מְאֹד וְגַם־יְלִדֵי הָעֲנָק רָאִינוּ שָׁם׃

29Amalekites dwell in the Negev region; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites inhabit the hill country; and Canaanites dwell by the Sea and along the Yarden.”

כטעֲמָלֵק יוֹשֵׁב בְּאֶרֶץ הַנֶּגֶב וְהַחִתִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי וְהָאֱמֹרִי יוֹשֵׁב בָּהָר וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי יֹשֵׁב עַל־הַיָּם וְעַל יַד הַיַּרְדֵּן׃

30Kalev hushed the people before Moshe and said, “Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.”

va-ya-HAS ka-LAYV et ha-AM el mo-SHEH va-YO-mer a-LOH na-a-LEH v'-ya-RASH-nu o-TAH kee ya-KHOL nu-KHAL LAH

לוַיַּהַס כָּלֵב אֶת־הָעָם אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר עָלֹה נַעֲלֶה וְיָרַשְׁנוּ אֹתָהּ כִּי־יָכוֹל נוּכַל לָהּ׃

31But the men who had gone up with him said, “We cannot attack that people, for it is stronger than we.”

לאוְהָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־עָלוּ עִמּוֹ אָמְרוּ לֹא נוּכַל לַעֲלוֹת אֶל־הָעָם כִּי־חָזָק הוּא מִמֶּנּוּ׃

32Thus they spread calumnies among the Israelites about the land they had scouted, saying, “The country that we traversed and scouted is one that devours its settlers. All the people that we saw in it are men of great size;

לבוַיּוֹצִיאוּ דִּבַּת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר תָּרוּ אֹתָהּ אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר עָבַרְנוּ בָהּ לָתוּר אֹתָהּ אֶרֶץ אֹכֶלֶת יוֹשְׁבֶיהָ הִוא וְכָל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר־רָאִינוּ בְתוֹכָהּ אַנְשֵׁי מִדּוֹת׃

33we saw the Nephilim there—the Anakites are part of the Nephilim—and we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.”

v'-SHAM ra-EE-nu et ha-n'-fee-LEEM b'-NAY a-NAK min ha-n'-fee-LEEM va-n'-HEE v'-ay-NAY-nu ka-kha-ga-VEEM v'-KHAYN ha-YEE-nu b'-ay-nay-HEM

לגוְשָׁם רָאִינוּ אֶת־הַנְּפִילִים בְּנֵי עֲנָק מִן־הַנְּפִלִים וַנְּהִי בְעֵינֵינוּ כַּחֲגָבִים וְכֵן הָיִינוּ בְּעֵינֵיהֶם׃

 13:33   And so we must have looked to them.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk (1787-1859)

In comparison to the giants living in Canaan, the spies report that “we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.” Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, a Hasidic leader in the nineteenth century, suggests that the sin of the spies was that they worried about what others thought of them. As emissaries of Hashem, they should have been concerned only with fulfilling their mission, despite how they might be perceived by the people around them. We all have a special mission, to spread God’s messages to the world. Since we know we are fulfilling Hashem’s work, we should not worry about what others will think about us.