Shelach – Shlishi

The Game Changer

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

“It doesn’t matter how strong the Canaanite nations are!” they said. “G-d has promised us this land and with Him on our side, we can’t lose!”

The people were on the verge of stoning Caleb and Joshua when G-d’s Presence manifested above the Mishkan.

“I’ve really had enough of this,” G-d told Moshe. “I’m inclined to wipe them all out and start the nation over again with you. Whattayasay?” (You can insert the usual disclaimer about quotes being loosely translated here.)

“I’m not a fan of the idea,” Moshe replied. “When the Egyptians and the other nations hear about it, they’ll say that You destroyed the Jews because You were unable to bring them into the land! In the big picture, it would be far better to show restraint. And You’re the One Who told me that Your attributes are patience, mercy and forgiveness!”

“Fair enough,” G-d responded. “Tell you what, I’ll forgive them, but I’m not bringing them into Israel. I’ve given them every opportunity to evolve, but they just can’t get past their slave mentality. I’m going to let this generation die out in the desert and I’ll bring their children into the land.” G-d made an exception for Caleb, who stuck up for Him. He promised Caleb the territory of Hebron, which he had investigated.

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