God told Moshe to send spies into Cana’an (later the Land of Israel), one from each tribe. The names of the spies were listed. One of them is Hoshea, whose name was changed by Moshe to Yehoshua (Joshua). Moshe instructed the spies to enter the Land from the south, look at its landscape and assess the strength of its inhabitants.

The spies entered the Land. They travelled to the valley of Eshkol, where they cut a vine with a cluster of grapes which they carried on poles, as well as figs and pomegranates. After 40 days in the Land, the spies returned to share their report and showed the people the fruit. Their report began positively, but then warned of the powerful nations living in the Land and the strength of their fortified cities. Calev, one of the spies, tried to reassure the people that they will nevertheless conquer the Land. The other spies, except Yehoshua, contradicted him, claiming that it is a land “that devours its inhabitants and that all the people are giants”. The people cried all night in response to this report and announced that they would seek a new leader who would take them back to Egypt. Moshe and Aharon despaired at the people’s reaction to the spies’ report. Yehoshua and Calev tore their clothes in a sign of mourning, and declared the Land to be “very, very good”.

Yehoshua and Calev declared that God will ensure the Israelites’ conquest of the Land as long as they do not rebel against Him, but the people threatened to stone them to death. God lamented the nation’s lack of faith and threatened to destroy them in a plague. Moshe pleaded for forgiveness on their behalf, stressing that other nations may claim that it was beyond God’s power to bring Israel into the Land. God relented, but with a qualification – all those who angered Him will not enter the Land.

God decreed that men at the time over the age of 20 would die in the desert over the next 40 years. The spies died in a plague, except Yehoshua and Calev. Moshe told the nation about the 40-year decree and they mourned. A group of people then tried to enter the Land, despite Moshe’s attempts to dissuade them. They were brutally massacred by the Amalekites and Cana’anites.

God told Moshe to instruct the nation that when they bring animal offerings, these should be accompanied by a meal offering (mincha) and a wine libation (nesech). The mitzvah to bring a meal offering and a wine libation extends to all offerings and to all members of the nation.

When making bread from grain grown in the Land of Israel, one has to take a tithe from the dough (challah). The Torah specifies the offerings that need to be brought if the whole nation accidentally worships idols.

The offering brought if an individual accidentally worships idols is detailed, followed by the punishments for intentional idolatry and blasphemy. God told Moshe to teach the nation about the mitzvah of tzitzit.

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