This week we begin the final book of the Torah, Dvarim, which consists mostly of Moshe’s final speech to the Israelites. In this week’s parsha Moshe recounts the sin of the spies. Curiously, though, it has a number of inconsistencies with the original telling: Moshe says this week that the people approached him to spy out the land, even though when the story is recounted in parshat Shlach it seems clear that it was actually Hashem that initiated the spying; Moshe then characterizes the response of the spies as positive upon returning, when it was clearly negative but for Calev and Yehoshua’s positive defense; finally, Moshe seems to say that not only were the generation of the spies punished by not being allowed to enter Cana’an, but so too was he – a radical understanding given the general understanding, and explicit mentioning in the earlier text, that it was Moshe’s hitting the rock that led to his being barred from entering the holy land. The whole episode leaves a lot of questions about why such changes – such clear changes about important aspects of the story – were made.
The story shifts
Standing on the brink of death
Has it clouded things?
Updated: Truly, saying a similar thing but more eloquently, see fellow Pardesnik Avi Strausberg