וַיִּקְרָא מֹשֶׁה לְהוֹשֵׁעַ בִּן-נוּן, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ.
And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua.
The parasha tells us the famous story of the twelve spies that Moshe sent to spy on the Promised Land. They were heads of the tribes, not regular people.
The question that comes to mind is – why send spies to check the land?
They just got out of slavery of over 200 years in Egypt, great miracles, receiving the Torah, seeing the presence of G-d on a daily basis with the guiding Cloud during the day and pillar of fire at night. Why go and spy on the land now? Any land to settle down should be good for them.
One of the reasons for that mission was that God and Moses wanted them to make their first free choice to connect to the Holy Land of Israel. Up until now they were taken out of Egypt and followed Moses in the wilderness, without much free choice.
Now coming closer to the Land of Milk and Honey, the land where they would spend the rest of their lives, was a different story. God wants to give them a gift, the gift of free choice. God tells Moses (Numbers 13:2) to pick one head of each tribe and send them “שְׁלַח-לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, וְיָתֻרוּ אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן”, the word used here is “יָתֻרוּ”, which is numerical value of 616 = “התורה”, The Torah, The land of Israel is the connection to the Torah, Zeir Anpin.
The Idea was to let them see the land, connect to its energy, and make a choice to settle in it.
A little lesson for sales people and parents: if you want to “sell” your stuff or ideas to your customers or children, allow them to choose from your selected choices. Do not say “Take this” or “This is the best for you… Trust me…” it won’t work until they decide by themselves. Ask them questions with obvious answers that will trigger the right thoughts. When they own the decision, the communication channels are open between both sides.
First God asked Moses to pick the heads of the tribes, so there would be strong leadership to represent all the people. They were supposed to come back with positive experience, leading their people into the land.
Moses gave them hints to what to look for and what to find. When he said “מָה הָאָרֶץ”, he referred to the word “מָה” that represents Zeir Anpin. The numerical value of מה is 45 and it is equal to the spelled name of God יוד-הא-ואו-הא, which represents Zeir Anpin, the Light. The Zohar says that the Torah, the People of Israel and God are one. The leaders needed to connect to the Land and the Light as channeled through the land of Israel.
Moses also told them to check “הֲיֵשׁ-בָּהּ עֵץ אִם-אַיִן” if there was a tree “עֵץ” or not “אַיִן”. The word tree refers to the Tree of Life.
The leaders of the tribes went to the land for forty days (like the number of days Moses went up to Mount Sinai to connect and bring the Torah). They came back with fruits of the land but also bad news “Yes, it is the land of milk and honey and here is the fruit but, “אפס” (means Zero) the people of the land are giants and…
Like in all good lies they started with some truth, like the snake when he tempted Eve to connect to the Tree of Knowledge, good and bad. She later excused herself saying (Genesis 3:12) “וַתֹּאמֶר, הָאִשָּׁה, הַנָּחָשׁ הִשִּׁיאַנִי, וָאֹכֵל”, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” The word “הִשִּׁיאַנִי ” contains the words “הֲיֵשׁ” and “אַיִן ’, there is or there isn’t that represents the doubts of the people in the Light.
In (Exodus 17:7) “וְעַל נַסֹּתָם אֶת-יְהוָה לֵאמֹר, הֲיֵשׁ יְהוָה בְּקִרְבֵּנוּ, אִם-אָיִן.” “Because of the striving of the children of Israel, and because they tried YHVH, saying: ’is YHVH among us, or not?’”
Moses gave the leaders of Israel an opportunity to correct their previous negativity (Exodus 17) and even the ability to correct the disconnection from the Tree of Life that Adam and Eve caused in the first sin and brought mortality to the world.
They needed to find the Tree of Life and connect to it with certainty. Unfortunately, they made a horrible mistake and drew a picture that brought fear and death to the nation. That was the third time they had the opportunity to have the ultimate connection but failed. First were Adam and Eve. Second was the Sin of The Golden Calf before the ultimate connection to the Torah. And now the 10 leaders missed again.
We are close to the time of the revelation of Mashaich. We need to build the certainty in the Light. We all experience some ‘giants’ obstacles in our lives that take away from our certainty because the soul lives in a material body that always seeks its satisfaction. It’s a time that many good people are being tested for their certainty. These tests are gifts from God to allow us expand our vessel beyond the desire of the physical body.
Passing all these tests earns us the ticket to the Promised Land, which is the merit to enjoy the ‘Milk and Honey’ of the Final Redemption.