Student Teaching in the New Millenium

5771 Sh’lakh L’kha

In Numbers on June 26, 2011 at 10:59 pm

And then there were two
Of twelve who saw and sampled
What say they, not Torah?

The text is very clear about the people found in Canaan. Why does it come as a surprise to the people that the nations of Canaan were powerful? Why let this stop them now?

The prophet details an exchange that occurred in the land. What happened to the scouts of Moses, I wonder? The text documents the goodness of the land; the bad report is heresay. Or is it heresy?

Does the Torah ask “what really happened in the land?”. Does the prophet answer, “seek Rahab”?

The two loyal scouts are descendants of Judah and Joseph, through Ephraim. Why didn’t Manasseh listen to his brother?

Does God punish the Israelites? Or does he simply answer their prayers? Why didn’t the Israelites return to Egypt?

God mentions Caleb twice, and Joshua once, as inheritors of the land. Is this to do with Caleb’s lineage? They both exhorted the Israelites to trust in God, and Joshua is mentioned first in that passage. Is Joshua taken for granted, because of his lineage through Joseph, as Joseph takes God for granted? Or is Caleb honored like Judah, who actively participates in justice, and therefore has to be actively acknowledged? Or is this a double affirmation: Judah’s blessing is assured?

Why do the people reverse from God’s decree without a demonstration of God’s power? How were they convinced that “we were wrong”?

Why does the portion switch so quickly to sacrifice rules? The land is not for that audience any more. Is God only speaking to the ones under twenty? Or does God still speak to everyone? How did the people respond?

Why stone a man in the wilderness for violating the sabbath? Was he an Israelite? Or someone else? What business is it of ours?

Why mention the fringe here? What use do the disenfranchised have for fringes, or any of this for that matter? Does the prophet answer “the fringe is an acceptance, and a redemption.”

Why twelve scouts here, and two scouts in the prophetic reading?


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