PARASHAH: “Shelach’l’ha” (send for yourself) NUMBERS 13:1-15:41
Most of us know the story of the 12 spies that were sent to spy out the land of Canaan, sent by Moshe by the word of YHVH. But let’s look at the story carefully and see what we can dig out of the sand pile, we might find some valuable stuff hidden in the sand.
The word of Moshe to the 12 tribes was that they might select from each tribe a leader to represent that tribe, so the list is read. Among those selected, we are going to concentrate on two of the leaders; “Kaleb” son of “Yephuneh” from the tribe of Y’hudah, and “Hoshea” son of “Nun” from the tribe of Ephrayim”.
The story goes as follows as we read the Torah. The 12 are sent out on a “reconnaissance” mission to “spy out” the land. What do we mean by that? Any time an army is going to invade a territory, the army needs to know how many men the enemy has, what they have, where they live, their fortresses, etc. This is a common battle strategy, nothing new. Adonai has already “promised” them the land, done deal! Yet they still have to go into battle, but the battle already has the outcome, Israelites win! This is what Adonai sees looking up the “finite” timeline in the “finite” dimension” and we must remember that HE sees ALL THINGS from the “infinite” timeline, the things that have already come to pass, even before they “pass”
They travel throughout the land of Canaan for 40 days, and they see many things, the fruit of the land, grapes, pomegranates, figs, date palms, etc. It is indeed a land flowing with “milk and honey” (figs and dates). Yet the beginning of verse 28 starts with BUT! And then follows all the negativity, the people are strong, the cities are walled, and the “giants” are there! (and not the team from New York) I mean “the big tall guys” It is very easy to spread discouragement among the people, (vs 32) “and they gave the children of Israel an evil report of the land”.
Imagine that your father promises to give you a brand-new Mercedes Benz for your birthday, and he says; “go to the Mercedes dealer and check it out son!” so you go and look at it, you look into the motor, then come back and say;
“Hey pop, this is going to eat up a ton of gas, the insurance is going to be high, it might get stolen… Well, dad might say, “OK son, forget it then if you feel that way!”
The only ones that saw the promise of YHVH were Kaleb and Hoshea, they looked to the promise, but the rest of the leaders set their eyes on the “circumstances”. Going back to verse 16, it points out something interesting; Moshe changes the name of “Hoshea” to “Yehoshua” this is very interesting and sheds light on internal symbolism. The name “Yehoshua” contains two names in the Hebrew language “YH” (Yah) and YESHUA!
When we look at the full name “Yehoshua Ben Nun” from the ancient paleo-Hebrew letters and their symbolism, one could get the following message; “Behold and let the eye see (that God, the All-consuming fire) extends the hand to receive the nail, to give (BEN) life to the house (to families) and by the nail, (His) life was given up so that (we) might have life!” (NUN)
When we look at the name “Kaleb Ben Yephuneh” from the ancient Hebrew symbolism, we could get this message: “The house is anointed for instruction” (Kaleb) and “behold let it be made that from the mouth comes forth instruction” (Yephuneh). I guess it depends on how one looks at the letters, perhaps another rabbi would come up with something different, but this is how I personally look at the names from the ancient perspective.
The result was that panic and discouragement spread throughout the camp, and it wasn’t just a few thousand Israelites, but rather a few million, discouraged by 10 negative leaders. And 10 out-vote 2! Even though Kaleb and Yehoshua tried to encourage the people, the negatives won over. As the saying goes, you can put a few rotten apples in a barrel of good apples, and the good ones will never correct the rotten ones, but the rotten ones will infect the good ones with rottenness.
The reason for "spying out" the land was for observation! making invasion plans, to take notes, just like scouts of the Armed Forces do today when preparing for battle. But, when the spies said "however" or in some translations "but" those words inject negativity. From HOPE to DISPAIR and it affected the whole camp of a million and more Israelites. So, Bad news for these negative speakers, death for them, and a "waiting game" for the rest.
Another thing to mention is that just before this event, we remember that Miriam spoke against her brother Moses, saying that "Hey, hasn't Adonai spoken through us all, and not only through Moshe?' and the result of her "Leshon Hara" was that Adonai struck her with "Tzara-at" and had to stay outside the camp for 7 days. Ten of the twelve spies spoke "Leshon Hara" against the Land of Israel! and as a result, Adonai struck them all down with a plague!
The rest of the Congregation of Israel had to stay in the desert wilderness for 40 years, 1 year for each day the spies were in Canaan. Then, to make matters worse, they tried to go into the land without the blessing of Adonai, and they were beaten back. YHVH wanted to destroy them all, yet Moshe intercedes for them, and Adonai listened to Moshe. This is the same way Yeshua intercedes for us to the Father, on our behalf when we “get rotten” (miracle we’re still in the land of the living )
Going to chapter 15, we read something interesting from verses 38 to 41, about making and wearing “Tzitziot” or “fringes” on our garments. There are many “traditions” in Judaism, such as the wearing of “Yarmulkes” (head coverings) and Ashkenazim dressing in black and white with black hats, even the lighting of two candles comes from “tradition” Tradition isn’t bad, as long as we understand the meaning behind the tradition. But one should NEVER teach “tradition” as “commandments” there is a world of difference between the two.
However, the making and wearing of Tzitziot, IS a commandment, however many do not follow it, I guess it is up to each individual. One can read it and say; “God says it but I won’t follow it” or, “God says it and I will do it” We all have the choice to do or not to do. Whatever the Holy Spirit convicts us to do.
No one knows how the original Tzitziot were made, none have survived 3000 years. Today, there are many different styles and “knot tying” and “wrappings” of the thread when making Tzitziot. One only has to go to YouTube and look up “Tying Tzitziot” and you will have quite a few videos of instructions on “how-to” that is the way I learned, from watching a few YouTube videos on “making Tzitziot”.
But what do the Tzitziot symbolize? The scripture tells us in verse 39, “to remember the commandments”. The blue cord reminds us of the “blue sea” where the Israelites crossed, and the “blue” of the heavens from whence our Messiah and LORD will break through to return to earth.
Today, we use 4 long cords, one of which is blue and is the longest. This cord is used to do the wrappings, and all 4 are used to make the knots. When one ties the knots, it is customary to say, “BaShem Mitzvah Tzitzit” (in the name of the commandment (of making) the tzitzit.
There are 5 knots, symbolizing the 5 first books of the Torah, the number “5” also symbolizes “grace” and then there are the windings of the blue thread. The 4 cords are folded over so as to give the appearance of “8” cords, “8” is the number of a “new beginning” which we all have when we are “born-again”
The windings go as follows (but to get a good view and idea, you need to go to YouTube and view the Tzitziot tying videos) 7 windings, then knot, then 8 windings, then knot, then 11 windings, then a knot, then 13 winding, then the final knot. Why the 7, 8, 11, and 13 windings of the blue thread? Well, these spell out the name Y H V H using numbers. “7” being the “perfect number of God, then 7+8=15 which are the sum of the letters Y + H (Y=10, H=5). 11 = “V +H” (V=6, H=5) so now we have the infallible name Y H V H. “13” is the sum of the word “ECHAD” (oneness of God) Alef=1, Chet=8 and Dalet=4. 1+8+4=13, it also symbolizes the 13 attributes of Adonai found in Exodus when Moshe asks to “see God” and his “Spirit passes before him”
All in all, try and be positive and not negative. We need to look past the present circumstances and trust the LORD for results. I know, sometimes that's hard to do, but Adonai has only our good in mind, not evil.