The Promised Land: Good Or Bad?

The True Sin Of Israel Rejecting The Promised Land

Beth Lesch
Beth Lesch
Writer

Description

In Parshat Devarim, Moses recounts the story of the spies. In that story, Moses had sent 12 men to the Promised Land, asking them: "And what of the land? Is it good or is it bad?"


Now without even going to see the land for yourself, you know the right answer to that question, right? The Promised Land is good! The Almighty God describes it as a good land, His chosen land, the place where His chosen people belongs. Then why does Moses pose this question to the spies? Is it a trick question? Isn't this a bit strange?


When you take a closer look at the text, and when you look at it through the lens of Moses' words in Parshat Devarim... when you see how the spies actually answer Moses’ question, and how the people react, it becomes clear that there is a story playing out here just beneath the surface of the text, a story with a checkered history and insidious undertones, a story that sheds a whole new light on this tragic episode.


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The most comprehensive presentation of Rabbi Fohrman’s theory of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge is in his book, The Beast That Crouches at the Door, which you can purchase here. He also explicates parts of the theory in various videos and podcasts throughout our library, including: 

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Click for Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch’s commentary on the parallel between the sin of the spies and the sin of Adam and Chava.

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For more on Parshat Devarim, see "What Did Moses Do Wrong?"