What do Moses’ sister Miriam and the spies to Canaan have in common?

Today’s ‘Parashah’ {פרשה} (weekly Torah portion) is ‘Shlach Lecha’ {שלח לך} (‘send to you’ or ‘send to yourself’). This is the fourth ‘Parashah’ in the Book of Numbers and can be found in Numbers 13:1–15:41.

The Hebrew root of our weekly Torah portion’s name (‘Shlach’) is S-L-CH {ש-ל-ח} and it means ‘to send’ or ‘to dispatch.’ Let’s have a look at the opening verses of the ‘Pararash’ (weekly Torah portion):

“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.”(Numbers 13:1-2)

Interestingly, in our case the Hebrew verb ‘Shalch’ (‘send’) comes together with the word ‘Lecha’ which means ‘to you’ or ‘to yourself’

(for some reason this does not appear in the English translation) and could explain the following words of ‘Rahsi’ {רש”י} – the famous Jewish Bible commentator who lived in the 11th century:

“‘Send to yourself’ – according to your own understanding {meaning Moses’ understanding}. I am {meaning God} not commanding you, but if you wish, you may send.”

And ‘Rashi’s’ commentary continues as he wondered about the connection between the last topic of the previous weekly Torah portion (‘Beha’alotecha’ {בהעלותך}) which was the story of Miriam and Aaron opposing Moses and our current topic the story of the spies to the land of Canaan.

His answer is that the link between these two matters is the slander that was said in both stories: Miriam who talked about her brother Moses and the spies who said bad things about the Promised Land – the main issue of our weekly Torah portion.