Devarim (Pisqa'ot 1-25)

Pisqa’ 20

Pisqa’ 201


“Then all of you approached me” (Dt.1:22)—

as a confused mob.

Elsewhere He says:

“Then all the heads of your tribes and elders approached me” (Dt.5:20)—

the children respecting the elders,

and the elders respecting the leaders.

But here He says:

“And all of you approached me” (Dt.1:22)—

as a confused mob,

children shoving the elders,

and elders shoving the leaders.2


“And you said: let us send men in advance to scout the Land for us” (Dt.1:22).

Said R. Shimon:

What contemptible people!

For this is how they requested scouts!3

Moses replied to them:

When you were in a deserted land of brush
you didn’t request any scouts.

Now, when you are entering a good and broad land,

a land flowing with milk and honey,

you ask for scouts?4


“And they returned to us with this proposal5 ( Dt.1:22)—

which language do they speak [in the Land]?6

“And the path of our ascent” (Dt. 1:22)—

you can find no path without its twists,

nor a path without ambushes,

nor a path without crossroads,

[all of which hinder invasion].

“And the cities by which we shall come upon them ” (Dt. 1:22)—

to know by which path we should attack.

  1. H:43;JN1:57-58
  2. Cf. Sifre Nu 136.
  3. For a similar expression of revulsion, see Pisqa’ 23.1.
  4. Cf. Sifre Nu 82.
  5. Heb: davar; literally, “word.”
  6. Heb: midabrim. The assonance of davar and midaberim, in addition to the shared root, d-b-r, explains this exegesis.