THE SPIES RETURN
"They went and they came (to Moshe)" equates their going to their return,
Just like they returned with an evil counsel, they went with an evil counsel.
(R. Yochanan) "And they said '... (the land flows with milk and honey...) but it is for naught, for the inhabitants are (too) strong." (They began with praise of the land, because) if Lashon ha'Ra (slander) does not include some truth at the beginning, it will not last.
(Rabah): "And Kalev hushed the nation towards Moshe" - he enticed them with words.
He saw that when Yehoshua tried to speak, they silenced him. 'If one's head is cut off, can he speak?!'
He reasoned - if I defend Eretz Yisrael, they will silence me also.
He said 'is this the only thing Moshe did to us?!' They thought that he was going to criticize Moshe, so they let him continue.
He took us out of Mitzrayim, he split the sea for us, he brought manna down for us. If he would tell us to make ladders and ascend to Heaven, wouldn't we listen?! "We will go up and inherit the land!"
(R. Chanina bar Papa): "The Meraglim who went with him said 'we cannot... he (the nation there) is stronger Mimenu.'" Do not read 'than us', rather, 'than He.' (Rashi, Tosfos Erchin 15b - the word is pronounced the same either way. Ibn Ezra (Shemos 1:9) and Teshuvas Rashba (attributed to Ramban) 232 - western Sefarim (which follow the tradition of Eretz Yisrael) have a Dagesh (dot) in the Nun either way, but eastern Sefarim (which follow the tradition of Bavel) have no dot when it means 'than us'.)
It is as if they said that the Owner of the house cannot retrieve His Kelim from His house.
(Rava): "The land consumes its inhabitants" - Hash-m intended to help them, but they viewed it negatively;
Wherever the Meraglim went, an important Kena'ani died. This distracted the Kena'anim, so they did not occupy themselves with the Meraglim.
Others explain that Iyov had died, and all were busy eulogizing him.
(Rav Mesharshiya): "We were like grasshoppers in our eyes, and also in their eyes" - this was a falsity!
They could know how they viewed themselves, but they could not know how the Kena'anim viewed them!
Rejection: They could know! The Kena'anim would give a first meal to a mourner under a cedar tree. When the Meraglim were seen, they climbed into trees. They heard the Kena'anim say that they saw ant-sized people in the trees.
"The whole Tzibur raised their voices and cried" - it was the eve of the Tishah b'Av. Hash-m said 'they cried for no reason. I will fix the day to be a day of crying for generations.'
(R. Chiya bar Aba): "The whole Tzibur said that they will stone them (Yehoshua and Kalev). And the honor of Hash-m (appeared in the Ohel Mo'ed)" - they threw stones up towards Hash-m.
(Reish Lakish): "The men who gave a bad report of the land died harshly in a plague" - this was a bizarre death.
Opinion #1 (R. Chanina bar Papa): Their tongues hung out and stretched to their bellybuttons. Worms came from their tongues and entered their bellybuttons and vice-versa.
Opinion #2 (Rav Papa): They died of croup.
TRANSPORTING THE ARON
(Beraisa): Once the last Yisrael alighted from the Jordan, the water returned to its place - "when the Kohanim, carriers of the Aron, alighted from the Jordan, their feet touched the dry land, and the water returned like it used to be, on all its banks."
The Aron, its carriers, and the Kohanim were on one side of the Jordan, and Yisrael were on the other side.
"When Yisrael finished crossing, the Aron and the Kohanim passed in front of the nation" - the Aron carried its carriers.
Uza was punished for not learning from this. "When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uza stuck out his hand to hold the Aron."
Hash-m rebuked him. The Aron can even carry its carriers. All the more so, it can carry itself! "Hash-m's anger flared at Uza. He struck him there on the Shal."
(R. Yochanan or R. Elazar): For his (she'Lo) affairs.
(The other of R. Yochanan and R. Elazar): He relieved himself in front of the Aron.
(R. Yochanan): "He died there with the Aron of Hash-m" teaches that Uza came to the world to come;
Just like the Aron lasts forever, also Uza.
(R. Elazar): "Va'Yichar (it was distressing) to David that Hash-m made a breach regarding Uza" - his face turned white like a Chararah (cake).
Question: Should we expound every occurrence of 'va'Yichar' this way?!
Answer: No. Elsewhere, it says 'va'Yichar Af' (his anger flared). Here, it says only "va'Yichar".
(Rava): David was punished because he called words of Torah 'songs' - "Your statutes were songs to me."
Hash-m rebuked him. It says about Divrei Torah "wink your eye (for one moment, neglect) them, and they are gone." Do you call them songs?! I will make you stumble in something that even children learning (Chumash) from their Rebbi know!
"He did not give (wagons) to (the Leviyim,) Bnei Kehas, because they carry the most Kodesh things (rather, they will carry on their shoulders)." David brought the Aron on a wagon.
Question: "He struck the men of Beis Shemesh, because they saw the Aron." Is this a reason to strike them?!
Answer #1 (R. Avahu or R. Elazar): They bowed to it without pausing from reaping.
Answer #2 (The other of R. Avahu and R. Elazar): They also spoke disrespectfully - 'who angered you (the Aron, that you allowed yourself to be captured), and who appeased you (that you returned on your own)?'
(R. Avahu or R. Elazar): "He struck among the people 70 men and 50,000 men" - 70 died, and each was worthy like 50,000;
(The other of R. Avahu and R. Elazar): He killed 50,000, and each was worthy like 70, the Sanhedrin.
Contradiction: One verse says "when the carriers of the Aron took six steps, they offered a bull and a fattened bull." Another verse says "seven bulls and seven rams"!
Answer #1: (Rav Papa bar Shmuel): After each step, a bull and fattened bull; after every six steps, seven bulls and seven rams.
Objection (Rav Chisda): If they offered after every step, the whole land would be full of Bamos (private altars)!
Answer #2 (Rav Chisda): After every six steps, they offered a bull and fattened bull. After every six sets of steps, they offered seven bulls and seven rams.
Contradiction: One verse says "(the threshing floor of) Kidon." Another verse calls it "Nachon"!
Answer (R. Yochanan): First it was Kidon (like a spear, i.e. it caused Uza's death). Later it was Nachon (it established the family of Oved Edom, by whom the Aron stayed, with many children).
(Beraisa): There were three sets of rocks.
Moshe set up rocks in Mo'av - "in Mo'av, Moshe started to explain." We learn from a Gezeirah Shavah from "You will write on them (the rocks) the Torah (well explained)."
Yehoshua set up 12 rocks in the Jordan.
Yehoshua set up 12 other rocks in Gilgal.
(Beraisa - R. Yehudah): "You will write on the rocks this entire Torah", and afterwards "you will plaster over them."
Question (R. Shimon): If so, how were the Nochrim able to learn it?
Answer (R. Yehudah): Hash-m gave them extra cleverness. They sent scribes who peeled off the plaster and copied the Torah.
Since they had the opportunity to learn, but did not, they were condemned to Gehinom.
R. Shimon says, they wrote the Torah over the plaster. At the bottom they wrote "(you will kill the seven Kena'ani nations) so they will not teach you to do like all (their abominations)."
This shows that if Kena'anim outside of Eretz Yisrael (whom we were not commanded to kill) wanted to convert, we would have accepted them.
(Rabah bar Shila): R. Shimon learns from "The nations will be like fired plaster" - due to affairs of plaster.
R. Yehudah explains, just like plaster can be fixed only through fire, Nochrim can be purified only through fire (of Gehinom).
Question: Like which Tana is the following?
(Beraisa): "And you will capture a captive (and desire her)" includes Kena'anim in Chutz la'Aretz, that we accept them to be converts if they repent.
Answer: It is like R. Shimon.