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  • Sefer Bamidbar

Moshe and his intelligence service (scouts-Meraglim)


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Sivan 25, 5779
Why did Moshe change only the name of Yehoshua not for all his scouts?
ב"ה Shalom Your seemingly simple question required much thought and research. According to some commentators, (Baa'lei Hatosafot) the change of name took place before Yehoshua was appointed scout. Moshe changed his name because he was his close and beloved pupil just as G-D had changed Abraham's name. In context of the other verses, we must explain, the use of the word "Vayikra" "and he (Moshe) HAD called Hoshea Bin Nun Yehoshua". I emphasized "HAD" because this makes the sentence's tense the equivalent of the 'past perfect' in English. This interpretation then leads us to the question, why then does the Torah mention this na It seems because of this question, Rashi quotes the Midrash, that Yehoshua's new name contains the hint of a prayer that G-d should save him from the counsel of the scouts. Now if we say only in the context of the scouts Moshe changed his name, we have to answer a new question, which is why the favoritism for Yehoshua and not the other scouts? To answer this I will follow the commentary of other Tosafists (Moshav Zkanim on the Torah) . Moshe knew his student Yehoshua was a righteous person and so were his intentions. He prayed only that he remain the person that he is. How could he pray for the other scouts who he did not know for them to remain who they are? If their intentions are evil he would be praying for something m bad. If Moshe should pray that their intention improve, perhaps they never had bad intentions. Of course, there is a lot more to expound, but I tried to give a concise answer. All the best and Shabbat Shalom
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