Parshas Shelach-Summary of the Parsha

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Parshas Shelach

Pesukim: 119 [Siman: פלט]

Haftorah: Yehoshua 2:1-24

Number of Mitzvos:

There are a total of Three Mitzvos in Parshas Shelach; Two positive commands and One negative command. The following are the commands in the chronological order that they are brought in the Parsha.


A. Positive:

1. Mitzvah 385; Positive 154: To separate Challah from dough and give it to a Kohen.

2. Mitzvah 386; Positive 155: To tie Tzitzis to the corner of one’s garments.


B. Negative:

1. Mitzvah 387; Negative 232: The prohibition to swerve after the thoughts of the heart and sight of the eyes regarding matters that are contrary to Torah theology.


  1. Moshe sends spies to Eretz Canaan:
  • Hashem spoke to Moshe saying that he should send men to tour the promised land of Canaan. One person is to be chosen from each tribe. Moshe did as he was instructed and sent them from the Paran desert to the land of Canaan. All the men in the group were distinguished leaders of Israel.
  • The names of those chosen for the delegation:
    • Reuvein: Shammua Ben Zaccur
    • Shimon: Shafat Ben Chori
    • Yehuda: Kalev Ben Yefuneh
    • Yissachar: Yigal Ben Yosef
    • Ephraim: Hosheia Ben Nun. Moshe called him Yehoshua.
    • Binyamin: Palti Ben Rafu
    • Zevulun: Gaddiel Ben Sodi
    • Menasheh: Gaddi Ben Susi
    • Dan: Ammiel Ben Gemalli
    • Asher: Setur Ben Michael
    • Naftali: Nachbi Ben Vofsi
    • Gad: Geuel Ben Machi.
  • The purpose and instruction of their mission: Moshe sent the above delegation to tour the land of Canaan and he told them to travel from the south and ascend the mountain. They should see the quality of the land, if it is good or bad, and if the nations that dwell on it are strong or weak, few or numerous, and if the cities are fortified or open. They should see if the land is fertile or lean, if it has trees or not. Moshe asked them to bring back with them from the fruits of the land. That period of the year was the time of the ripening of the grapes.



  1. Their journey:
  • They went and toured the land from the Tzin desert until Chamas.
  • The giants: They went up the south and arrived at Chevron where the giants Achiman, Sheshai and Talmai are found. Chevron was built seven years before the city of Tzoan in Egypt.
  • The fruits: They arrived at the Eshkol region and cut fruits from there. They took a cluster of grapes and two people carried it on a pole. They took pomegranates and figs.

  1. Their return and slanderous report:
  • They returned to the camp of the Jewish people in Midbar Paran after a forty-day journey and reported what they saw and showed them the fruits of the land. They said that the land flows with milk and honey, contains mighty nations who live in large fortified cities, and contains giants. Amalek lives in the south, and the Chiti, Yevusi and Emori live on the mountain. The Canaani lives by the sea and near the Jordan river.
  • Kalev responds: Kalev quieted the nation and told them that they would be able to conquer them. However, the other members of the delegation said that it is not possible, as those nations are much more powerful. They said that the land consumes its inhabitants. They described feeling like grasshoppers in the eyes of the giants. They spoke slander against the land.


  1. The nations reaction:
  • The nation cried that night and complained against Moshe and Aaron saying if only they would have died in Egypt, or in this desert, rather than be brought by Hashem to that land to die by the sword and have their wives and children taken captive. It is better that we return to Egypt, and so they decided to appoint a leader to return to Egypt.
  • Moshe and Aaron fell on their faces. Yehoshua Ben Nun and Kalev Ben Yefuna tore their clothing and they told the Jewish people that the land which they toured is very, very good.


  • If Hashem desires to bring us, He will bring us there, it is a land of milk and honey. Do not rebel against Hashem, and do not fear the other nations as they will be like bread to us. Their protection has departed, and Hashem will be with us. Do not fear!
  • The entire nation wanted to pelt them with stones, and the glory of Hashem suddenly appeared in the Ohel Moed to all the Jewish people.

  1. Hashem’s response:
  • Hashem responds with a threat of annihilation: Hashem lamented to Moshe of the state of the nation that after all the miracles He has done they still do not believe in Him and anger Him. “I will smite the nation and annihilate them and make a new greater nation from you Moshe.”
  • Moshe’s defense: Moshe pleaded to Hashem not to destroy the nation, as this would cause the Egyptians and other nations to say that You could not conquer the promised land and therefore you made them die in the desert. Now, strengthen Your power “Hashem, Hashem, Keil Rachum Vechanun Erech Apayim Verav Chesed Viemes, Notzer Chesed La’alafim, Nosei Avon Vapesha Vechatah Venakei.” Please forgive this nation just as you have forgiven them in Egypt until now. Hashem replied that He agrees to forgive them as requested.
  • The punishment: Nonetheless, the people will not go unpunished. All those who experienced and saw my miracles in Egypt and in the desert and challenged Me ten times and did not heed My voice, they will not see the promised land. However, My servant Kalev, being he was not part of the slanderous report, he will enter the land.
  • Travel: The Amalekites and Canaanites dwelled in the valley, and Hashem instructed the Jewish people to return and journey towards the desert the next day.



  • Moshe informs the Jewish people of the punishments: Hashem told Moshe and Aaron to inform the Jewish people that their request was granted, and they will die in this dessert. Only Kalev and Yehoshua, as well as their children whom they said would be taken captive, will enter the promised land. Your corpses will drop in this desert and your children will wander for forty years in it to bear your guilt, one year for each day of your journey.
  • The Meraglim die: The spies who spoke slander of the land died in a plague before G-d.

  1. Attempt to conquer Amaleik:
  • Moshe informed Bnei Yisrael of all the above and they entered a deep state of mourning. They arose in the morning and ascended the mountain with intent to repent and enter the promised land. However, Moshe warned them that they would not be successful as G-d does not allow it anymore. They will be smitten by their enemies if they continue, as Hashem is no longer with them. However, they were stubborn and did not listen and ascended the mountain. Moshe and the Aron did not move from the camp. The Amaleikites and Cananites who lived on that mountain annihilated them.


  1. Voluntary Karbanos of a vow and their Mincha and Nesachim:
  • Hashem told Moshe to tell the Jewish people that when they arrive to the land and bring a voluntary offering from the cattle, or flock, due to a vow, or during the festivals, then it should be accompanied by a Mincha offering and wine libations.
  • Sheep: For every sheep you should have a tenth of an Eipha of fine flour for a Mincha, mixed with a quarter of a Hin of oil, and a quarter of a Hin of wine as a libation.
  • Ram: For every ram you should have two tenths of an Eipha of fine flour for a Mincha, mixed with a third of a Hin of oil, and a third of a Hin of wine as a libation.



  • Bull: For every bull you should have three tenths of an Eipha of fine flour for a Mincha, mixed with half of a Hin of oil, and half of a Hin of wine as a libation.
  • This applies both for you and for the converts who dwell with you. You will all follow the same laws.



  1. The Mitzvah of Hafrashas Challah:
  • Hashem told Moshe to tell the Jewish people that when they enter the land and eat from the bread of the land, they shall set aside a portion for Hashem. The first of the kneading is to be tithed as a Challah for Hashem, similar to the Teruma separation.


  1. Karbanos for unintentional sins:
  • Entire congregation sinned: If the entire congregation performs a sin [relating to idolatry] due to an inaccurate ruling, then they are to bring one bull within its first year as an Olah, and its mincha and libation, and one he-goat as a Chatas. Hashem will forgive the nation.



  • Individual sinned: If a single individual performs a sin [relating to idolatry] he is to bring one she-goat as a Chatas. Hashem will forgive him for his sin.
  • A brazen sinner: One who brazenly sins [with idolatry] will be cut off from his nation.

  1. Mikosheish Eitzim:
  • The Jewish people were in the desert and they found a man gathering wood on Shabbos and brought him to Moshe and Aaron for further instruction of what shall be done to him. He was placed in custody as they did not know what his punishment should be.
  • The punishment: Hashem said to Moshe that the man shall die through stoning. The entire congregation is to stone him outside of the camp. The nation did as they were instructed, and he was stoned to death outside the camp.

  1. Mitzvah of Tzitzis:
  • Hashem told Moshe to tell the Jewish people to make Tzitzis on the corners of their garments, and place a thread of Techeiles turquoise wool on each corner. By seeing the Tzitzis they will remember the Mitzvos of Hashem and perform them and not stray after their hearts and eyes.
  • I am Hashem who took you out of Egypt

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