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Parshas Shlach

Rabbi Moshe Lieber

Parshat Shlach

Oct 21, 2009

 

Written in honor of the upcoming Chasuna of Sruly Samet

The sin of the Meraglim is described in the Torah as adultery (see Shlach, Perek 14, Posuk 33). Lashon Hora, lying perhaps, misleading, but why adultery?

It says in the Medrash that when Hashem changed Sarai's name to Sarah, the letter yud cried. Why should I be removed from the name of a tzadekes? Hashem assured the yud that it would be compensated. It would be placed in the name of the tzaddik Yehoshua.

Moshe Rabeinu made the change in Hoshea's name prior to sending out the meraglim. Chazal tell us that Moshe's intent in adding the letter yud was to protect Yehoshua from the evil counsel of the meraglim. The letter yud is the first letter in Hashem's name.

The act of changing Yehoshua's name was a prayer that Hashem should save Yehoshua. Why did the yud have to come from somewhere else? Why did it have to come from Sarah's name?

Couldn't Moshe just have added a yud? In addition, what is it about adding a letter to one's name that affords him protection from sin.

What difference does it make what his name is?

First, we must understand what a name is. A name is not just a vehicle for referring to someone or calling them home for dinner.

When a Jewish child is given a name, the child is imbued with the qualities of the name. The name means something. The name Aryeh denotes a lion-like nature, the name Yaffa - a fine, delicate nature.

What was Sarah's nature? The Medrash says that she was like the moon. She reflected an inner splendor, modest to the extreme, Sarah is "in the tent". But she reflected Avrohom Avenu's light to all of creation. From her tent, she illuminated the entire world. She was the moon to Avrohom's sun. She is bound to the name of Hashem.

Her daughters inherited this trait. Chazal tell us that although the entire Klal Yisroel was punished for accepting the words of the meraglim, not a single woman was punished. The were not deterred by the evil words and were quite ready to enter Eretz Yisroel. A moon relies on the Sun for light. A daughter of Sorah relies on the Sun for wisdom and guidance.

Chazal describe the relationship between Moshe and his pupil Yehoshua in the exact same terms. Moshe is the brilliant sun enlightening the world with the wisdom of the Torah. Yehoshua, as the moon, absorbs the light and reflects it. The connection between Yehoshua and Sorah is evident. By adding the yud taken from Sarah's name to Yehoshua, Moshe is connecting Yehoshua to the essence of Sarah.

The meraglim saw terrifying things, giants, fortified cities, people dropping dead all over the place. There was just no way that they could see conquering and prospering in this land. They were looking from the outside in. They were possessed of pre-conceived notions and agendas of their own. A Bas Sarah puts her trust in the luminary we call Hashem and in his emissaries. She sees with her heart and not with her eyes.

This was what Moshe wished for his talmid Yehoshua.

A true marriage is one where trust exists between one another. The husband sees his wife as the only source of his shleimus. The wife sees her husband as the Chochmah that she reflects. The sin of the meraglim was none other than adultery. Klal Yisroel was led astray. They lost trust in Hashem and searched for other "husbands", other sources of completion.

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