Midrash Raba, “BeShalach“: Not wanting to let the people hear what Caleb had to say to the end, the spies began to speak against the land: it is a land that destroys its inhabitants, they claimed, and is filthy and disease ridden and we have seen people dying everywhere we went. But because its inhabitants are especially strong they do not die of being physically weak, no! It is the harmful climate of the land that kills whoever lives there.
Question: What does it mean that the people in this land are dying?
Answer: The word “death” refers to a person who cannot overcome the spiritual growth offered to him according to the plan of creation. The spies see how the ego dies and they are terribly afraid of it. They say that it is the harmful climate of the land that kills whoever lives there. The word “land” (Eretz) stems from the Hebrew word “desire” (Ratzon), referring to the egoistic desire. If you agree with this egoistic desire, you immediately find yourself under its influence and it kills you. That means that the Light leaves you and this is death.
Question: So how did the spies reach this land?
Answer: The spies are very special people who belong to the generation of the desert and represent the best and greatest attributes in a person that begins to feel what there is on the next level. But at the same time they keep contradicting themselves: First they lead the people, but then they say, “Quick, Let’s go back!”
This dual experience a person undergoes, this double burden, indicates to what extent he has to establish a connection with the Creator in order to advance. It is because the greatest and best attributes pull him backwards: You shouldn’t go there; this land is cursed by the Creator; there are desires and moods there that you cannot bear and must escape from! Therefore it is impossible to predict anything in advance; the strongest person can be transformed and can turn into the weakest person.
Question: Does this mean that you cannot be sure about anything?
Answer: And we shouldn’t be sure about anything. God forbid that we should be sure about anything, because then we wouldn’t need the help of upper force so that He should lead us forward.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 4/8/15