QUICKIE/FUNFACT: Q: Why does the Torah teach us the seemingly irrelevant and meaningless fact that they called the place from where they took the cluster of grapes, NACHAL ESHKOL? (13:24)
A: The Sforno teaches that the Canaanites were the ones who called the place NACHAL ESHKOL when they saw the spies taking the cluster of grapes. They were astonished to see how amazed the spies were to see these large clusters since, in actuality, there were clusters like these all over the land. Thus, this seemingly meaningless occurrence actually teaches us that the land of Israel was filled with these oversized clusters of grapes.
* Courtesy of Rav Dov Lipman Shlit"a
(Bamidbar 13:1) "Vayidaber Hashem El Moshe Leimor, Shlach Licha Anashim V'Yasuru es eretz Kina'an…""And Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, send, for yourself, men, and have them scout the land of Cana'an..."
Rashi on the introductory words of this weeks Parsha famously explains that the reason why the story of the miraglim (spies) is juxtaposed to the story of Miriam's tzaaras is to show that these men did not learn from the story of Miriam and that there exists an issur (prohibition) of lashon hara. It seems from this that because they were punished, there must be some sort of a chiddush in the laws of lashon hara that was learned from the story of Miriam that was otherwise not known. The question is however, what was this chiddush?
Rav Shimon Schwab Zt"l points out that It is known by all that the mitzvah of lashon hara is one that exists between man and his friend. And that at the root of this prohibition lays the reason that the negative words that have been spoken about any given subject are bound to hurt them and cause them damage. Therefore if someone were to speak Lashon Hara about a rock or another inanimate object they would not be performing Lashon Hara because there would be no pain experienced by a rock.
The aforementioned was the understanding of the miraglim. They felt that there was no prohibition in speaking negatively about eretz kina'an because it was nothing more than a land or sticks and stones. What they failed to realize however was that they should have learned that this was not allowed from the story of Miriam. Miriam felt that because Moshe was an "Is Anav MiOd – a very humble man" that her words would not affect him. In essence she was talking about a rock. Her mistake was that she was talking about an object of kiddusha (holiness). The chiddush of lashon hara which can be learned from Miriam is that even when you have an inanimate object, if it is infused with holiness it is forbidden to speak negatively about it. The meraglim failed to learn from the story of Miriam and thus miscalculated and assumed that Eretz Kina'an was just a land. They should have realized that the land was infused with holiness and that speaking negatively about it would only bring them sorrow and pain.
HAVE A FANTASTIC SHABBOS!