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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Bemidbar: Parashat Shelah: Kaleb Ben Yefuneh

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 Hashem.

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.

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