The Daily Chizzuk by our Rebbe Rav Eliezer Berland shlit”a — The spies were great Tzaddikim – then why did they err?
Sunday, 17 Elul 5783 — The Jewish people did not believe that Moshe was dead, but the spies and Miriam became confused
These are his holy words:
Now we are talking about the spies, that they were the greatest Tzaddikim in the world. They were all according to the word of Hashem, they all went according to the word of Hashem. They were not just regular people, rather all were “leaders of them” (Bamidbar 13:2). They were all leaders.
According to Hashem’s word they went, but the spies had one error: They thought that they were smarter than Moshe Rabbeinu — this is the entire error. It didn’t help that they were leaders; it didn’t help that they were going according to Hashem’s word.
The spies were the biggest Tzaddikim. Setur ben Michael was humble, did everything in secret, all the charities, but they do not have faith in Moshe Rabbeinu. They hear the prophecy, “Moshe is dead, Yehoshua is bringing in [the Jewish people to the Land]” (Sanhedrin 17a). They heard that Moshe would die, and then they suddenly became loyal to Moshe.
Are you loyal? Moshe said to enter. What’s with you and the prophecy that Moshe would die? Moshe isn’t even dead! Moshe is alive!
It is written in the Gemara in Shabbat that the Satan showed them the grave bier of Moshe.
The Rebbe [Rebbe Nachman] lives! They call Breslov Chasidim “Dead Chasidim,” but really they are the dead Chasidim. We have a Rebbe who is alive and enduring. The Rebbe [Rebbe Nachman] never died. He lives and endures. He is found with us in every place. He goes with us to every place. He lives and endures. The dead Chasidim are themselves — they are called “Dead Chasidim.”
When the Jewish people saw the bier of Moshe, here they already were broken. They said, “Where is Moshe? Where is Moshe?” They don’t know; he already ascended to heaven. He is late. He said six. Because Moshe said that he would return at 12 in the afternoon, and they erred by a day. Because they counted the day of ascent of Moshe to Mount Sinai, but the day of ascent is not counted as a complete day. This was only six hours.
The Satan said to them, “Six has already arrived — why hasn’t Moshe come?” He said that at six (“BaSheSh“) he was coming down. Do not read it “BoSheSh (is late),” rather “Ba SheSh (six has arrived)” (Shabbat 89a). Because at the hour that Moshe ascended to the heights, he said to them, “At the end of forty days, I am returning” Forty days passed according to their calculation, and Moshe did not return — then they went to make the [Golden] Calf. They said, “If Moshe has not come until now, then he already will not come.” At the end of forty days, the Satan came and mixed up the world — darkness, gloom, lightning, thunder, rain, snow.
The Satan said to them, “Listen, six has come. There is something here that’s not right. Why hasn’t Moshe come? Where is he?” They told him, “Ascend to the heights.” He said to them, “But Moshe is dead; I will show you that he is already dead.”
They did not pay attention. They said, “So what if you show us that Moshe is dead. There is no such thing as this that Moshe is dead! So what if Eldad and Medad are prophesizing that Moshe is dead. They didn’t need to pay attention to this at all — but the spies and Miriam became confused.