This week's parasha contains the infamous episode of the twelve spies who were sent to look at the land of Israel. This ended in catastrophe as ten of the twelve came back with a negative report. This episode can be examined on many levels, but I'd like to bring out one point here. Moshe's prize student Yehoshua (Joshua) was one of the twelve sent. Moshe was concerned, as he understood that on some level, there was something incorrect going on with the spies. Moshe changed Yehoshua's name, adding the letter yud, one of the letters of G-d's name, so that Yehoshua would have the strength to stand up to the pressure of what was about to happen.
The Targum Yonasan translation and commentary adds that when Moshe made this name change, it was because he saw Yehoshua's humility. What does this mean?
Moshe was concerned that precisely because of Yehoshua's humble and peace-loving nature, he might not be able to or deem it appropriate to stand up for what is right. There are times when one needs to stand up for what's right and let things fall as they may, and Moshe wanted Yehoshua to have this strength.
Have a wonderful Shabbos and stay cool!
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Rabbi Naftali Karp
Every week Rabbi Karp sends out thoughts about the weekly Torah portion. Enjoy!