Balk? Scout? Aren’t These Baseball Terms?By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
The people balked. They asked for permission to send men to scout out the land and report back what could be expected. That seemed like a reasonable enough request, so Moshe approved it and sent one representative of every Tribe. They brought back samples of the land’s produce and confirmed that the land was indeed very good.
Unfortunately, the people were scared of the inhabitants and they rebelled against God. Moshe told them that they had nothing to fear – no matter how large the enemy or how well fortified the city, Israel couldn’t lose with God on their side. The people, however, lost their faith, which angered God. He swore that He would not bring that generation into the land. They would wander 40 years in the desert, during which time they would die out. The only people exempted from this punishment were Yehoshua (Joshua) and Kaleiv (Caleb), the only two of the 12 spies to stick up for God. Not even Moshe would be permitted to enter Israel, because he lost his temper at the nation (in parshas Chukas, Numbers chapter 20).