Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Bemidbar: Parashat Shelah: Kaleb Ben Yefuneh
Back to Sefer Bemidbar
Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi
In this week's parasha, Moshe sends 12 spies to the land of Israel to gather
intelligence. Upon their return, the nation gathered around them, prepard to
hear what the spies saw in this promised land.
They began to tell of a land with super-human beings that were giant in stature
and aggressively hostile. Immediately, Kaleb Ben Yefuneh intervened:
"Vayahas Kaleb Et Ha'Am El Moshe"
"And Kaleb stilled the people toward Moshe"
Kaleb saw the people starting to rebel against Moshe, and so to get their
attention, as one would get the attention of an anti-Moshe mob, he called out,
"And not just this did Ben Amram (Moshe) do for us."
Everyone was then quiet to hear what he would say, thinking he was going to
continue the criticism against Moshe. Instead, Kaleb praised him.
Why didn't Yehoshua say anything?
The main reason for the fear that grabbed Bnei Yisrael was that they had
previously heard the prophecy of Eldad and Medad who claimed that "Moshe was to
die and Yehoshua will take over." The nation was connecting the dots. How could
Yehoshua lead them into hostile land? Only Moshe could do it as he did in Egypt.
Kaleb saw the error in Bnei Yisrael's conception. They were tying the miracles
TO MOSHE AND NOT TO HASHEM! Had Yehoshua spoken up, the people would not have
listened because they would think Yehoshua was trying to calm them just secure
his leadership and domination over them. This is why Kaleb intervened to correct
the nation's thinking and not Yehoshua. Kaleb wanted to make sure that they
realized that it was not Moshe who brought the miracles of Egypt, but rather
Many times we make the same mistake even today. We attribute a miracle to the
messengers that Hashem sent to carry out the miracle. An example would be people
solely glorifying Israeli soldiers during the previous wars and not recognizing
that Hashem was behind their success and will always be behind their success.