The Zohar/Rav Brandwein Writings
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Parshas Shelach 5764
Rabbi Avraham Brandwein of Yerushalayim (in translation)
In this Parsha, it is told that Moshe Rabeinu sent out twelve spies, (who were) princes of Israel, for each (spy) was a Prince of a Tribe, to spy out, according to their request, the Land of Israel, before they enter it.
The spies returned, and they gave out an evil report on the land, except for two (of them), who were Yehoshua Bin Nun and Kalev Ben Yifuneh, who did not speak badly of the land. However, on the contrary, they said that we (the Children of Israel) are able to go up and acquire the land.
We need to understand the nature of the sin of the spies. They were not simple men, but (they were) important men, as it is written, “They are all men who are the heads of the Children of Israel.”
The issue is (as follows): There is an essential difference between the (form of) control (and guidance by Hashem) in the desert and between the (form of) control (and guidance by Hashem) in the Land of Israel. In the desert, the (form of) control and guidance was heavenly. The bread descended from Heaven, the cloud protected the Nation of Israel, and cleaned and pressed their clothing. They drank water from the well of Miriam. This was so, in order that they be free to study Torah. Therefore this generation is called the Generation of Understanding (Da’as), and the fulfillment of the Mitzvos was by way of spiritual Avodah (service).
This was not the case in the Land of Israel. Here the (form of) control (and guidance by Hashem) was (seemingly) according to Nature and not a (visible) Heavenly control. The fulfillment of the Mitzvos (in the Land of Israel) was by way of physical planting, plowing and harvesting. All of the Mitzvos that are dependent on the Land, (for example) like Shemitah (the 7th year in a cycle, where the land lies fallow), and Tithes, they are fulfilled by (relating to) the control of Nature, for here the Manna had ceased, and the bread was from the land. Therefore, the Mitzvos were given to fulfill them on the Land.
The reason is, that it is known, that after the “Breaking of the Vessels”, the Holy Sparks fell into the material, physical (realm). We elevate them to Holiness through the Mitzvos and the blessings of the Mitzvos. There is another unique, special (accomplishment) in that when a person refines the good from the evil, and elevates the good to Holiness, the person themselves thereby becomes refined. This is the form of Avodah of Torah and Mitzvos in the Land of Israel. This was not so in the desert. The bread was refined and pure, and was bread from Heaven, without the need to refine it and repair it. This was a miraculous (form of Heavenly) control, not (the appearance of) a Natural one.
Yehoshua Bin Nun and Kalev Ben Yifuneh were from the souls, which were connected to the Land of Israel, as it is written regarding Ephraim, upon his birth, his father, Yosef, called him by this name (Ephraim) from the term, “Hifrani Elokim (Elokim has made me fruitful) in the land of my affliction.” All (beneficial) increases and fruitfulness specifically come in a place where one has to refine (something) and exert effort, and not to (just) receive from what is already prepared. Also, about Kalev, the Holy Ari writes that (Kalev) was a reincarnation of Eliezer, the servant of Avraham, who was from Canaan, who was connected to the Land of Canaan, which is the Land of Israel. The nature of his soul was one of servitude and subjugation.
Therefore, (Yehoshua and Kalev) said that the Land flowed with milk and honey. Milk represents Chassadim and Honey represents Gevuros. One is opposite the other. This was not the case with the Manna, which was bread from Heaven, it was “like coriander seed, (pure) white,” which means it was just Chassadim, since it does not have in it the Avodah of refinement.