[SDT] the L'CHA of Lech L'cha means, "for your benefit". You are not going just because I command, but it is to your advantage to go. The KLI YAKAR suggests a similar meaning of the L'CHA in Sh'lach l'cha. How can we say that the sending of the Meraglim was to anyone's benefit? The result of the Meraglim was that Moshe's life was prolonged by 40 years.
The representatives of each tribe are named and the Torah testifies to the high caliber of each man.
[SDT] Back in Bamidbar, when the Tribal leaders were named, both Efrayim and Menashe were identified as the sons of Yosef - both within the same pasuk. Here, only Menashe is identified with Yosef, and Efrayim's scout - Yehoshua - is listed 3 p'sukim earlier, without reference to Yosef. Commentaries note that Yosef had been involved in "negative reports" against his brothers, as was the scout of Menashe, Gadi b. Susi. Yehoshua, of course remained clear of the taint of DIBA RA'A and is therefore not mentioned together with Yosef.
And Moshe called Hoshea b. Nun, Yehoshua.
[SDT] Rashi says that by adding a YUD to Hoshea's name, he was giving him a bracha that he should be saved from the group decision of the other Meraglim. MIMA NAFSHACH - Why did not Moshe bless the others similarly? And why would Yehoshua need a bracha when Kalev apparently did not? Whether or not a Scout will come back with the proper attitude or not was based on each individual's personality, perceptions, and conclusions. That was up to each of the 12 individuals. That's not why Moshe gave a special bracha to Yehoshua. Moshe had a separate fear concerning Yehoshua. He could imagine Yehoshua joining the Meraglim in discouraging the People from entering the Land so that Moshe's life would be prolonged. Eldad and Meidad had prophesied that Moshe would die and Yehoshua would lead the people into the Land. Moshe's bracha to Yehoshua was to keep Yehoshua honest, so to speak, so that he would not join the "evil advice" for any reason, even one to benefit Moshe himself..
[SDT] The ARI Z"L said that the Mitzva of Bikurim is a TIKUN for the Sin of the Spies. The first link between the two is the reference to the time of the visit to the land being the time of BIKUREI ANAVIM. But the link is much deeper. The Meraglim brought a large cluster of grapes (among other fruits) and discouraged the people from going into Eretz Yisrael. Rashi says that they would say to the people, "See these weird, unusually large fruit? Then imagine how strange and difficult the people in the Land are". Rashi explains that the ten Meraglim brought back fruits, but not Kalev and Yehoshua. What a terrible misuse of the fruits of Eretz Yisrael! What one should do with the fruit is to take the finest first fruits, put them in a basket, bring them to Yerushalayim, and joyously proclaim before G-d the gratitude for having been brought to the Land.
Among the mitzvot that relate to the Land of Israel, Bikurim is the one that includes in its procedure a verbalization. The mitzva is performed with words (and fruit). What a perfect "match" for the sin of the spies, which was primarily a sin committed with words (and fruit).
Rabbi Menachem Zemba, HY"D, of the Warsaw ghetto, made a beautiful observation to drive the point of ARI Z"L home. The Mishna in Bikurim asks, How does one designate fruits as Bikurim? It answers with three examples. A person goes into his fields and sees a fig that ripened, a cluster of grapes that ripened, a pomegranate that ripened. He ties them off with a GEMI (a natural ribbon)... Says Rav Zemba, these are the very same fruits that the Meraglim took back to the people.
[SDT] ...and we were in our eyes like grasshoppers (compared to the giants of Canaan) and so we appeared to them. The Kotzker Rebbe and others define two components of the Sin of the Spies from this part of the pasuk. First, that we saw ourselves as small and insignificant. Second, that we were concerned about how others perceived us. With G-d obviously on our side (we know what happened to Egypt and we witnessed so many miracles performed on our behalf), we should not have viewed ourselves that way. And, how others perceive us is their problem, not ours.
Shlishi - Third Aliya - 18 p'sukim - 14:8-25
The People are told that Amalek and the Canaanites occupy the valley and that they (the People of Israel) will have to divert towards the Midbar.
Towards the end of last week's sedra, we have the episode of Miriam's talking about Moshe and her punishment for her relatively mild transgression of LASHON HARA. Commentaries point out the juxtaposition of the episode of the spies.
There is more to this than "simply" two examples of Lashon HaRa, one about a person and one about Eretz Yisrael. There are important elements and details to be learned one from the other.
For example, it is not just the speaker of Lashon HaRa that transgresses. Those who listen to LH passively, without objecting, those who accept the LH as truth - they too transgress. The Sin of the Spies was not restricted to 10 people. Thousands of those who heard what was said and accepted it, and panicked because of it, they too were guilty. And they were punished, as we know.
Translate this into our time. It is not enough for one to refrain from bad-mouthing Eretz Yisrael, one cannot stand by idly when others do it. Kalev jumped up as soon as he heard what the Meraglim said. He grabbed the microphone (figuratively) and did his best to repudiate the words of the Meraglim and made his own impassioned pitch for Aliya.
We must not "put down" Israel, its people, life here, etc. We must object when others do. And I would suggest that even saying something negative in a joke is also problematic. It would at least be AVAK LASHON HARA.
The Sin of the Spies occurred on Tish'a b'Av 2449, more than a year out of Egypt. The total time in the Midbar from Exodus to entry into the Eretz Yisrael is 40 years. So the punishment is really for less than 39 years, not 40. The answer is that the Sin of the Spies is the culmination of the "angering" of G-d. We can say that it began back at the Sin of the Golden Calf (or even before that - we "complained" when were hardly out of Egypt). The 40-year punishment is retro-active to Cheit HaEigel (or earlier).
Note the reoccurrence of the number 40. From all indications, the number 40 represents the completion of a process, be it positive or negative. An embryo develops into a fetus in 40 days. Even earlier, there are certain things associated with "40 days before the baby is formed". The process of Moshe's acquiring of Torah took 40 days and 40 nights. As did the attainment of forgiveness for the people - 40 days on Har Sinai following the Golden Calf and 40 years for the Sin of the Spies. All living things (except No'ach and those with him in the Ark) were killed off during 40 days of the Flood. A mikve must contain a minimum of 40 measures of water. Cleansing of another type - via the punishment of MAKOT - is achieved by 40 (less 1) lashes. The complete definition of Creativity, vis-a-vis the prohibited categories of Melacha on Shabbat is also 40 (less 1). Forty years is the age that Pirkei Avot assigns to the acquisition of deep understanding. There are several 40 year periods in the Tanach, periods of peace, periods of war, length of a king's reign... 40 is a special number.
The people deeply regret their behavior and plan to enter the Land immediately. Moshe warns them not to, because G-d no longer wants them to do so (at this point). Some of the people went anyway - without the protection of the Aron - and are defeated by Amalek and K'na'an.
The Torah next sets down the details of the flour and oil offering and libation of wine that are to accompany most korbanot.
[SDT] It is important to note the context of these laws. Right after being told that the older generation (males) will not enter the Land, G-d comforts them by teaching procedures that will apply in Eretz Yisrael, specifically mitzvot that are to be "pleasing to G-d". It is as if G-d says, "Don't be too dismayed; your children will live in Eretz Yisrael and will serve Me in the Beit HaMikdash".
Challa is one of the Mitzvot that are Sages have kept active by rabbinic decree since the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, so that its practice and lessons should not be lost to us. Furthermore, Challa is rabbinically required in Chutz LaAretz, even those the Torah introduces the mitzva with, "with your coming to the Land". This too helps keep Torat Challah alive among the Jewish People. Often, reciting and learning appropriate Torah passages is sufficient to remember a "suspended" mitzva. Not with this one.
Next the Torah presents the details of the Chatat (sin offering) of the community (in cases where the leaders of the community inadvertently misled the people — in Avoda Zara related matters.) Here again it seems obvious that this topic is brought up because of the context of the Sin of the Spies. This mitzva is not counted here, but it certainly conveys G-d's attitude (so to speak) about Cheit HaMeraglim. We recognize that sometimes our leaders must bear the responsibility of leading us astray (but not always - often we must be accountable and not claim that we were just following orders). The ideas (and text) of this portion form part of our Yom Kippur service.
Following the Sin of the Spies and preceding the sin of the woodgatherer, the Torah presents us with both types of sin offerings - the communal and the individual. Especially since these topics are dealt with (and counted among Taryag) elsewhere, it is more than reasonable to consider these to be "contextual mitzvot" (Remember that many mitzvot are presented totally detached from any "story" in the Torah, and many stories are related without mitzvot attached. Contextual mitzvot are not as common, but by combining story and mitzva, they pack a strong punch.)
The Torah next tells us of the woodgatherer (traditionally identified as Zelafchad) who was locked up pending details from G-d as to how a public desecrator of the Shabbat is to be executed. (That public desecration of the Shabbat is a capital offense was already known.) G-d's command was to stone the violator. And so it was done.
Woodgathering on Shabbat would not usually be a capital offense, especially in a midbar, where carrying would be a rabbinic prohibition. However, with the multitude of Bnei Yisrael in the Midbar at this point, conditions of a R'SHUT HARABIM were present.
The final portion of the sedra is the third passage of the Sh'ma - the portion of Tzitzit. It contains the mitzva to put Tzitzit on the corners of a four-corner garment  and that one of the strings of each corner should be dyed t'cheilet, the special blue dye.
There are two prohibitions (and 4 positive commands) that the Sefer HaChinuch says apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, etc. Not to believe in other gods, and this one about resisting temptation to sin. (The positive commandments are to believe in G-d, that He is One, to love Him, and to revere Him.) This mitza of V'LO TATURU is in very impressive company among the mitzvot.
The Torah then reiterates the importance of belief in G-d in general, and in His having redeemed us from Egypt, in particular. Thus, the twice daily recitation of the Sh'ma constitutes the fulfillment of the mitzva to remember the Exodus "all the days of your life", in addition to its own mitzva, the recitation of the Sh'ma.
Note that the two positive mitzvot of Parshat Shlach deal with two main, basic needs of humans - food and clothing, physical necessities that have significant spiritual dimensions as well. (Challa and tzitzit are examples of many other mitzvot that relate to food and clothing - brachot, kashrut, modesty.) Shlach also contains various aspects of korbanot (even though they are not counted from this sedra) the former are the basics; the latter are the spiritual and lofty. It is as if the people are being rebuilt from scratch following the devastating sin of the spies.
Haftara - 24 p'sukim -Yehoshua 2:1-24
A lesson that Rabbi Jacobs in his A Haftara Companion draws from the contrasts between the missions of the spies in the sedra and haftara, is that (sometimes) success results from doing the job quiently and efficiently, rather than with the fanfare attached to publicly sending 12 top leaders of the Tribes. Although we know from the Midrash that Yehoshua's spies were Kalev and Pinchas, the fact that the Navi does not identify them adds to the quiet and efficient carrying out of their mission.