Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Shlach

The punishment for the events surrounding the sin of the meraglim/spies is that B'nei Yisroel had to spend forty years in the desert, one year for each day of the forty days that the spies spent on their tragic mission. (14:34) In articulating this punishment the pasuk says that the punishment will be on the basis of one day for each year ('yom lashana'). This seems to be backwards. The pasuk should say that the punishment will be one year for each day ('shana layom').

Rashi notes earlier (13:25) that HKB'H miraculously quickened the travel time (or shortened the amount of distance to be covered) for the meraglim. Had the journey taken the normal amount of time - meaning more days would have been spent on the mission - then the punishment (if the meraglim would chose to sin) which was destined to be on the basis of a year per day would have been even longer. Through this intervention by HKB'H the punishment was limited to forty years. [As to why forty is an appropriate maximum number of years, the midrashim further explain that by limiting the punishment to forty years HKB'H was ensuring that those who were twenty at the time of the sin (i.e., just old enough to be punishable for their actions) would live up to, but not beyond, the age of sixty. Sixty is the appropriate age because they were being punished by 'kares'/cutting off of years, meaning not living past sixty. Each person implicated died at age sixty, so the youngest needed forty years to reach sixty.]

Because HKB'H predetermined the outer limit of how many years the punishment would last, it is fitting that the pasuk describes the punishment as being one day for each year, meaning that they spent one day on their journey for each year of the predetermined maximum number of years they would have to be punished if they sinned. See Rabbeynu Bachya.

[Isn't it interesting that we refer to the spies as 'meraglim' even though the Torah does not use that term at all; the Torah always uses versions of the verb 'lasur', but never 'leragel' for the activities of these spies.

Similarly, we refer to the splitting of the Red Sea as 'kriyas yam suf' (literally, the tearing of the sea) as opposed to using the expression used by the Torah, which is always a form of 'bekia'/splitting.]


Gal Einai, Copyright 2006 by Gedalia Litke and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

A Wise Person Takes Bones
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Jewish Survival
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

The Spiritual Effect of Tasting the Manna
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Plague of Darkness of Every Generation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

The Great Mirror in the Sky
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Mazal Tov!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

ArtScroll

A Stiff-Necked People
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Illogical Treatment May Yield Bonanza For The Nation That is
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

Nothing's More Natural Than Nature
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Empathy for Others -- A Great Quality in Both the Wicked and the Righteous
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Israel's Secret Weapon
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

A Request
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5768

> Spring to Life
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5768

It's Raining Bread!
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Miraculous Nature
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

The Splitting Of The Sea and the Concept of Hidur Mitzvah
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information