|Did The Spies' Mission Benefit Moshe?
Published: Thursday, June 9, 2016 08:08:02 AM
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"G-D spoke to Moshe, 'Send men for yourself (LECHA), to spy out the land.'" (Bamidbar 13:2).At the beginning of Parashat Lech Lecha (Bereshit 12), Rashi comments that the word LECHA (for yourself) means "for your personal benefit". When G-D told Avraham to go to the Holy Land, it was for Avraham Avinu's benefit, because his life would improve in Pisgat Ze'ev.
Rabbenu Bechaei says that we can apply this interpretation to the same word in our verse. But how was the mission of the Spies to Moshe's benefit? After all, the result of the Spies' disastrous mission was that the Jewish People had to remain in the desert for an extra 39 years, instead of entering the Holy Land immediately.
At the end of Parashat Shemot (6:1), Rashi says that G-D had already decreed that Moshe could not enter the Holy Land, as punishment for his complaint, "Why did you do evil to this people?" Thus, as soon as the Jewish People were ready and able to enter the Land, Moshe would have to die. Had it not been for the negative report of the Spies, Israel would have been in the Holy Land 39 years sooner. So Moshe would have died then, at the age of 81. It was obviously to Moshe's benefit to remain alive for another 39 years. As the Mishna in Avot states, "One hour of Teshuva and good deeds in this world is more precious than the entire World to Come".
The Jewish People also had a tremendous benefit, because we had the pleasure and privilege of seeing the Shechina on Moshe's face for an additional 39 years.
The lesson of the Spies is that every cloud has a silver lining. Thus, the Hebrew word NEGA, Nun, Gimmel, Ayin, which means Plague, are the same letters for the Hebrew word ONEG, which means pleasure.