Monday, April 28, 2008

The Ma'apilim

After the Sin of the Spies, the Torah records that there were a group of people that decided to try to make up for their part in the sin.

במדבר יד:מ - וישכמו בבקר, ויעלו אל ראש-ההר לאמר: הננו ועלינו אל המקום אשר אמר ה' כי חטאנו
במדבר יד:מא - ויאמר משה, למה זה אתם עברים את פי ה', והוא לא תצלח
במדבר יד:מב - אל תעלו, כי אין ה' בקרבכם, ולא תנגפו לפני איביכם
במדבר יד:מג - כי העמלקי והכנעני שם לפניכם ונפלתם בחרב, כי על כן שבתם מאחרי ה', ולא יהיה ה' עמכם
במדבר יד:מד - ויעפלו לעלות אל ראש-ההר, וארון ברית ה' ומשה לא משו מקרב המחנה
במדבר יד:מה - וירד העמלקי והכנעני הישב בהר ההוא, ויכום ויכתום עד החרמה
Bamidbar 14:40 - And they arose in the morning and went up to the head of the mountain saying: Behold we have come up to the place that Hashem said, for we have sinned.
Bamidbar 14:41 - And Moshe said, why are you violating the word of Hashem, it will not be successful.
Bamidbar 14:42 - Don't go up, for Hashem is not in your midst, and (if you don't go up) you won't be smitten in front of your enemies.
Bamidbar 14:42 - For the Amelekite and Canaanite are there before you and you will fall by the sword, for this is the very reason that you turned from following Hashem, and Hashem will not be with you.
Bamidbar 14:43 - But they acted presumptuously and went up to the head of the mountain, and the Ark of Hashem and Moshe did not leave the camp
Bamidbar 14:44 - And the Amalekite and the Canaanite that dwell on that mountain came down and hit them and beat them until Chormah.

Points to notice in the story of the Ma'apilim.

  • Hashem wanted Am Yisrael to go up to Eretz Yisrael and inherit the land for all generations, to fulfill the Divine Will that we be a Holy Nation. The Spies caused the nation to not want to inherit the land. Due to the punishment, and the guilt over the sin, the Ma'apilim were willing to fight. They wanted a do-over without actually fixing the base problem. Their intentions were simply impure.
  • Moshe points out, essentially, that the Spies were right on one point. The nations that Am Yisrael feared indeed were stronger than Am Yisrael and would beat them, if Hashem were not on our side. Therefore when Hashem decreed that we stay in the desert for 40 years, it was not just a commandment that we could listen to or not. Hashem stated that He was unwilling to suspend the laws of nature for this generation.


  1. Let me know if you quoting from somewhere cause this is similar to what R'Tzodok writes, Moshe Rabeinu told them "V'Hie Lo Tizloch" it won't be succesful, this indicates that they did have a strategy, just it didn't succeed, but in Ikvisah D'Mishicha it will work.

    (see Tzidkas Ha'Zadik 46)

  2. I saw on another website that if we act like the Maapilim in regards to bringing Korban HaTamid, then this would bring the Geulah.

    The impure intentions definitely have worked during the Steps of Moshiach.

    But the Inyan during the Gilgul of Dor HaMidbar is to avoid these mistakes. Once we enter a certain point in the Steps of Moshiach, being like the Maapilim, acting without the proper reasons, does not work.

    Such an example of improper intentions that were successful would be to an extent the Israeli War of Independence, in that the desire to have a democratic western state is not really what Hashem wants for us.

  3. My comment was a bit incomplete. The item on bringing Korban HaTamid is from the GR"A.

    The rest is not from any source, just deduction from the pshat.