Hebrew Vision News Exclusive
by Miykael Qorbanyahu aka The End Time Scribe
Torah: Numbers 13.1-15.41 Haftarah: Joshua 2.1-24 Witness: Mark 10.1-45
In Kabbalah and Chassidut we learn that the twelve spies, representing all twelve Tribes of Israel, circled all the borders of the Land of Israel. Their mission was to be holy spies–to spiritually sow the land and prepare it for the entry of the Jewish People, when its hidden sparks would be revealed in full. The spies failed miserably at their mission, leaving it to us to rectify their sin. Wherever our feet walk, we must be holy spies, and make the place in which we find ourselves a vessel for Godliness. This principle applies in the Land of Israel as well as in the exile. Chassidut teaches that wherever a Jew is, he must bring the holiness of the Land of Israel to that location. When we fulfill this mission, we rectify the sin of the spies, and transform ourselves to holy spies.
“The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If יהוה has delighted in us, then He shall bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which is flowing with milk and honey.’ Only, do not rebel against יהוה, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread. Their defense has turned away from them, and יהוה is with us. Do not fear them.”
According to its legal definition, espionage is defined as
The act of securing information of a military or political nature that a competing nation holds secret. It can involve the analysis of diplomatic reports, publications, statistics, and broadcasts, as well as spying, a clandestine activity carried out by an individual or individuals working under secret identity to gather classified information on behalf of another entity or nation.
In Hebrew, the word for spy is ragal (רָגַל) which has as its meaning to go on foot, or to teach to walk. This suggests the idea of exploring an area in order to gain valuable information for the purpose of instructing others how to proceed in light of what has been observed from experience. This idea of information gathering to inform others is the focus of this week’s reading, as with Parashat Shelach Moshe and Israel begin to set their sight on the Promised Land for the purpose of entering into its inheritance of land. Being that the Hebrew word shelach (שָׁלַח) means to send out, we encounter the episode of the twelve spies who were sent to Kena’an and brought back two significantly different reports which caused a great division to take place among the nation. It was the dichotomy of the reports in this experience that presented the people with a matter that was meant to weed out the faithless souls that were composed of both bloodline Israelites and the mixed multitude, or sojourners, in this midst of the entire population who had been called to depart from Egypt under the leadership of Moshe.
After being established in the wilderness with the twelve tribes strategically configured around the Mishkan, or Tabernacle, twelve princes from each of the tribes were then selected and sent to explore the land of Kena’an of which their mission was to
Go up there through the Negev, then go up into the hill country. See what the land is like and the people living there, whether they might be strong or weak, few or many. In what kind of land are they living? Is it good or bad? Also, what about the cities in which they are living? Are they unwalled or do they have fortifications? How is the soil—fertile or poor? Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.
Being that Kena’an land is the focus of the entire scope of the Promised Land and the location where the capital of the Kingdom of Heaven and the throne of יהוה on Earth was to be established, it was the task of the spies to gather crucial intelligence about the peoples and the land itself for the purpose of carrying out a successful campaign of conquest. Interestingly, the name Kena’an (כְּנַעַן) has as one of its meanings to be subdued or humiliated and further connotes the principle of a state of submission and fulfillment—whether to one’s potential in Mashiyach or to subjection to the flesh. In this capacity for the spies, the land of Kena’an served as a conduit which allowed for the unleashing of positive or negative conduction of spiritual energy to manifest in the body of the host when they were present in its environs. In other words, when the twelve spies entered into the land of Kena’an, the type of energy that was present within each of them became manifest through the means of their words and actions. This factor is what accounted for the two different reports among the twelve princes sent to reconnoiter the land,as the ten spies were, in essence, faithless and the Joshua and Caleb were established in their faith. For each of the spies, their levels of faith, or lack thereof, was fleshed out from within upon their entry into Kena’an land. This was also the case of the people who heard and either accepted or rejected the evil report which was given to them after the spies mission of surveilling the land of Kena’an was complete.
For ten of the twelve spies it was the descendants of the Anakim (yaledi ha Anak/יְלִידֵי הָעֲנָק) who caused a crippling fear to settle upon them which in turn influenced the evil report (dibah/דִּבָּה) that they brought back to Moshe and the people. The problem with their report was not the objective perspectives that they presented about the Anakim, but their outright defamation of יהוה as related to their blatant disregard of the promise of inheriting the land that had been given to their ancestors. Despite the fact that the Anakim were a people who were considered giants (nephilim/הַנְּפִילִים) and were great in stature, either spiritually or physically, and perhaps even both, יהוה’s assurance of their victory over them should have been a pre-calculated factor given their mission. As will be addressed briefly in more detail, the ten spies lack of spiritual vision evoked a most carnal and unnecessary fear within them which clouded their perspective and further led to their distorted view of bad news.
Relating to the those in the land who the spies had observed, the name Anak (עֲנָק) is said to mean necklace wearers, as they were understood by Israel to be a people strangling [themselves and others, who are] misdirected by their own devices, successes and inventions as products and offspring of giants (of imagined immensities or awards) whose fantasies choke oneness. In other words, the Anakim were a tyrannical people who had spiritually degenerated over time by falling into moral corruption. They were also possessed with an uncanny ability to compel and influence others to adopt their wicked lifestyle by might or other means of persuasion. The power and influence that they wielded was the very distraction that caused the ten spies to stumble in their mission and return to misinform Moshe and the people that there was nothing that they could do to acquire the land that they had been promised, because they were of the mind that
“We cannot attack these people, because they are stronger than we. The land through which we passed to explore devours its residents. All the people we saw there are men of great size! We also saw there the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our eyes as well as theirs!“
Numbers 13.31b, 32b-33
It is evident from the above text that despite the entire nation’s witness to the miracles that had recently taken place which lead up to and ensued the Exodus event just prior to this juncture of their trek in the wilderness, that there were still doubters and non-believers in the midst of the camp. As has been stated, those who were faithless in the camp had to be exposed, and this episode provided the right conditions for those who lacked faith to be fleshed out and uprooted. The ten faithless spies unwarranted fear of the Anakim, while one could logically make a case to justify such a position, was unacceptable due to the reality that Israel had the Creator of heaven, earth, sea and everything in them on their side; and with יהוה on their side, none could stand against them. For the faithlessness of the ten spies and those who received their evil report, it is said that the day these views were given to Moshe and the people was on Tisha B’av, a day that has forever gone down in infamy which was marked by future events of historical woes with Israel, as the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 BCE and the Romans in 70 CE both took place on the 9th of Av.
Reflecting back on the previous inhabitants of Kena’an, while it is assumed by many that the Anakim and Nephilim were a race of demigods, or a mix of fallen angels and humans, further study yields that these beings were, in fact, tyrannical mortals with great power and might as “children of authority” or benei elohim (בְנֵי־הָֽאֱלֹהִים), who stood as the only obstacle between Israel their inheritance of Kena’an land. To further comprehend the ten spies being intimidated by these tyrants, an article by Yehudah Shurpin called Nephilim: Fallen Angels, Giants or Men? informs us of the following:
Finally, there others who take a different approach and explain benei elo[h]im to mean people who were—at least to begin with—on a spiritually high level. They are later called nephilim, for they or their descendants (or both) fell from their spiritual heights, became corrupted, and eventually brought [Elohim]’s wrath upon themselves by robbing, murdering and raping without hesitation. We end up with several reasons why these beings are called nephilim:
1. Because they fell from their greatness.
2. Because they caused the world to fall.
3. Because they caused the hearts of people to fall, trembling before their great stature.
4. Because they fell from heaven—although not without their consent.
5. Nephilim is Hebrew for “giants”—which they were, either in stature, in authority or in spiritual greatness.
It is for this reason that the land of Kena’an was to be conquested, in order to remove the wickedness and unholiness that was present in order to pave the way for the appearance of the Holy Land. This is because יהוה chose for the land of Kena’an to be the location where all energies are [to be] submitted unto each other in preparation for the wholeness of immortality. [It was the place where] Abraham perceived the full potential of man in [Kena’an], the land of promise, which land corresponds to man’s potentiality, however, [that potential will not be reached] until all energies, physical and spiritual, are submitted unto each other in the mature fruit of [Kena’an].
With the directives that the spies were given to fulfill, it was also the intent of the mission to assess where the prime point of entry into the land was and how to best engage the opposition given the topography of the landscape. Theirs was a military expedition with spiritual underpinnings, it was the intent of the mission to uncover the hidden realities that lied buried both within Israel the people and the land of Kena’an given its inherent characteristics. The hidden reality that was to be exclusively discovered in the land of Kena’an is what is known in Kabbalah as ra’eh etz chaim (רָאֶה עֵץ הַֽחַיִּים), or the Tree of Life Consciousness. Of this consciousness, an article entitled Certainty Beyond Logic by Rachel Soumech from the website Living Wisdom has this to say about Israel’s responsibility of self and national rediscovery of the Tree of Life consciousness of which every member of the commonwealth has been tasked with the mission to undertake. Soumech writes,
The problem with the ten spies was that they didn’t push themselves to try and connect with truth. They saw the situation in the land of Israel – the giants and the different strong nations – and chose to believe in it, regardless of what the Creator and Moses said.
For the spies to do their job properly and earn the right and merit for the Israelites to enter Israel, they needed to completely let go of the reality presented and not be affected by it. They needed to have trust and certainty beyond what their eyes showed them or what their hearts led them to believe. They could have tapped into the higher consciousness – the consciousness of the Tree of Life, as Moses originally asked – and put their logic aside. If they had just followed Moses’ advice, they would have been awakening a level of certainty that would have completely changed the Israelites’ reality.
Compelled by love and faithfulness, Joshua and Caleb on the other hand, were well aware of the collective and ultimate reality that was promised to become manifest through the people’s concerted efforts. These two had their consciousness heightened as a result of their faithful study and adherence to the Torah, coupled with their rugged determination to remain loyal to the Most High and their people.
We are told of Joshua, from the tribe Ephrayim, that he did not leave the tent [of Meeting], but remained in the presence of the Shekinah; continuously meditating, praying and studying which fortified his vision for the mission that he was given to embark. With Caleb, it was his innate nature, symbolized by his name and tribal affiliation (Yahudah), allowed for him to perceive the hidden jewels that were contained in the land of Kena’an. In confirmation of this matter, we are told in an article entitled All Your Heart from the website Chabad, that
Caleb, whose name hints to Ce-Lev, “like the heart”, or Celev — “dog” (“man’s most loyal friend”) — his loyalty to his ancestors, listened to the small silent voice, perhaps because his heart space too was on high. The binding of Caleb to the grave site of the patriarchs steered him in the right path, assured him to trust in his good instincts, and paved the way for him to have success in all his ways.
From the verse [t]hey went up in, the south, and he came to Hebron, and there were Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of the giant. Now Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan of Egypt, it is explained to mean by Rashi that
Caleb went there alone [hence the singular “he came”] to prostrate himself on the graves of the patriarchs [in prayer] that he not be enticed by his colleagues to be part of their counsel. Thus, it says, “I will give him [Caleb] the land on which he has walked” (Deut. 1:36), and it is written, “They gave Hebron to Caleb” (Jud. 1:20). – [Sotah 34b]
Unlike the evil report of the other ten spies, the good report (shemuah/שְׁמוּעָה) by Joshua and Caleb can be perceived of, in depth, as the wisdom of the messages of prophecy providing consciousness. Due to their spiritual clarity and steadfast faithfulness to יהוה, they were afforded with the vision to see beyond the surface into the world of the unseen where eternal realities lie hidden to the naked eye and bring the essence of the meaning of the vision, which was perceived in Kena’an, to the people. Being that they were aware of and believed in the promises made to Israel by יהוה, they were able to perceive the land in its prophetic state and not one that was based in its basic, geopolitical appearance. Ultimately, the report given by Joshua and Caleb, who were types of the two faithful witnesses, hearkens to one of the most significant questions asked in all of Scripture, who has believed our report and to whom has the arm of יהוה been revealed? which is an allusion to the revelation of Mashiyach.
An all important lesson that we are to take away from this episode centers around the principle of sticking to the vision in spite of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The Hebrew word for vision is chazown (חָזוֹן), which not only signifies the sense of sight, but also pertains the inner perception of the mind in the most prophetic of senses. This perception, or inner vision, is what unites us with the Most High, in Spirit, and transforms us into the very image and likeness of our Creator when we faithfully adhere to the Truth. This requires our acceptance of the ultimate revelation of the Torah in the manifestation of Mashiyach Yahoshua, who is the firstborn of the new humanity, and leader of those who resurrect in the Spirit of Life. The challenge is know, comprehend and actualize the report of which the prophet Isaiah mentioned despite the evil reports that shared of Yahoshua not being Mashiyach. This we must do even when we find ourselves opposed by what appears to be great giants and tyrants who may be present before us for the purpose of testing our faith, focus and fortitude. If we are able to remain faithful, focused and adhere to the vision and mission that we have been given, then our consciousness will undergo an elevation and an even sharper perception of the eternal, unseen reality which will then become that much more visible to us from within.
Ultimately, when we have acquired this heightened level of conscious perception we will be able to see into the hidden depths of reality, beyond the mere form of the physical manifestation that appears immediately before us, and fulfill the goal of transforming a mundane world into the holy domain of the Kingdom of יהוה as spies sent to inform the people that the coast is clear for this undertaking. For it is the realm of the unseen that contains the eternal realities that exist in an unalterable and unmovable state of being of which we are able to perceive, experience and share given our faithfulness to the vision given by יהוה to our ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Once aligned with the will, intent, vision and mission of the Most High, those whose eyes have been attuned to the unseen realms will be able to peer into the marvels of creation and bring forth messages that inform others of what must be done in order to allow for what has been prepared in the invisible world through the Word, or Torah, to appear. When fear and other emotional imbalances are present, however, the ability to perceive prophetic reality is hindered and one only is able to see what appears to the naked eye. This is addressed by Maimonides in his classic work Guide for the Perplexed in a chapter he devotes to prophecy; in it he says
Imagination is certainly one of the faculties of the body. You find, therefore, that prophets are deprived of the faculty of prophesying when they mourn, are angry, or are similarly affected. Our Sages say, Inspiration does not come upon a prophet when he is sad or languid. This is the reason why Jacob did not receive any revelation during the period of his mourning, when his imagination was engaged with the loss of Joseph. The same was the case with Moses, when he was in a state of depression through the multitude of his troubles, which lasted from the murmurings of the Israelites in consequence of the evil report of the spies, till the death of the warriors of that generation. He received no message of [Elohim], as he used to do, even though he did not receive prophetic inspiration through the medium of the imaginative faculty, but directly through the intellect.
What this all points to is the division of the righteous, faithful seed of the children of Heaven from the wicked, rebellious seed of the children of Earth as a result of either being able to perceive, comprehend and follow through with the given prophetic vision of יהוה, or not. The division that ensues as a result of heeding or rejecting the vision is as clear as light is from darkness, the separation of the two Kingdoms of Israel, and the rejection and acceptance of Mashiyach Yahoshua ben Yoseph when He was sent to Israel as the national Redeemer from the bondage of sin and death in fulfillment of the prophecy given to Daniel of the 70 weeks.
Finally, it is our duty as spies sent throughout the Earth to gather intelligence and return to the people in order to provide them with a good report, under-girded by the ancestral promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What follows is our responsibility, spiritually and literally, to visit, search out, and investigate the land of Kena’an in order to bring back a clear sign conveying the prophetic knowledge that had been given to our predecessors for our future role of manifesting the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. And though it is assured that we will be faced with challenges like Joshua and Caleb did with the majority of the people who hearkened to the evil report and chose to close their mind’s eye to the vision of the fulfilled promise of the Land, we must remain steadfast as they did. For when we stand firm with the faithful few who are able to see the unseen vision of the Kingdom established in our hearts, then will be fully invested with Heaven’s power to go about fulfilling this monumental task. The choice is ours, as it is written
“Because it has been given to you to know the secrets of the reign of the heavens, but to them it has not been given. For whoever possesses, to him more shall be given, and he shall have overflowingly; but whoever does not possess, even what he possesses shall be taken away from him. Because of this I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Yeshayahu is completely filled, which says, ‘Hearing you shall hear and by no means understand, and seeing you shall see and by no means perceive, for the heart of this people has become thickened, and their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart, and turn back, and I heal them.’ And blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear, for truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous ones longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”