Shabbat Parashat Shelach| 5764
Spreading the Glory the Hard WayHarav Moshe Ehrenreich
Our parasha tells us of the terrible punishment that our forefathers suffered for their rebellion and refusal to go up to Eretz Yisrael. Bnei Yisrael had to wander in the desert for 40 years and the generation that left Egypt did not merit to enter Eretz Yisrael.
But if we look elsewhere in Tanach, we find another major consequence of their sin, which does not seem to appear here. Yechezkel tells us: “I also raised up My Hand against them in the desert to scatter them among the nations” (20:23). Indeed, David Hamelech used almost identical words in Tehillim (106:24-27) to describe the exile and dispersal, which was decreed upon Bnei Yisrael. But where in the Torah do we see an exile and dispersal because of the sin of the meraglim; we see only a delay in the entry to Eretz Yisrael. The Radak (Yechezkel, ad loc.) raises this issue, and, in his second answer, says that the dispersal is a reference to the future exile, as Chazal tell us that the sin of the meraglim was on Tisha B’Av (date of the destruction of the Temples).
But it would still be appropriate to have at least a hint at the connection to the future exile in our parasha, which is the primary source about the events regarding the sin and its aftermath. The Netziv (Bamidbar 14:21) finds such a hint. The Torah describes Hashem’s oath in an unusual way. “But as I live, and the glory of Hashem shall fill the entire land…” What is the connection between the oath and Hashem’s glory filling the world?
The Netziv explains that the dispersal that is referred to in Tehillim became necessary in order to sanctify Hashem’s Name, which had been defiled through the sin. Bnei Yisrael would have to be dispersed in order that Hashem’s glory would indeed fill the world. But how would that happen?
There is a profound idea that is found in several places in midrashim that when Bnei Yisrael go into exile, the Divine Presence goes with them (see Eicha Rabba 2; Yalkut Shimoni, Tehillim 885, and more). Thus, when Hashem swore that His Glory would fill the land, He was in fact swearing that this would include Bnei Yisrael spreading out throughout the land and “bringing Hashem along.”
The Netziv himself gives another application to the proliferation of the Divine Glory. When the sheep (representing Bnei Yisrael) is forced to live among 70 wolves (representing the nations who seek its harm) and they are able to survive, this is the greatest evidence of Divine Providence.
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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to
the memory of R’ Meir ben Yechezkel
Shraga Brachfeld o.b.m.