Midrash Raba, “BeShalach”: The children of Israel now camped in Kadesh, north east of the land of Israel. They knew that they would climb the mountain on the border of the land of Israel. Excited, pushing one another they ran to Moses with their request: let’s send the spies ahead, so that they will explore and check the land; they will advise us which way we should go and will tell us which cities would easily be conquered; so that we should know who to attack first. But of course, they had no need for spies, because the pillar of cloud moved before them. This is the reason that they had to think of different excuses in order to convince Moses to send the spies.
The children of Israel demanded that Moses send the spies to the land of Israel, which means that they didn’t have faith in the pillar of cloud, the cloud of glory, that guided them in the desert. But now the time had come to fight against the strong egoistic desires in the land of Israel, and only if the people overcome them will they acquire the spiritual level, which is the land of Israel.
The point is that the desert is a state in which we accept the good, equal, calm attitude toward everyone, passive bestowal. It isn’t the active work with the ego yet, since we don’t invoke it inside us and don’t bring it out. The land (“Eretz”) of Israel comes from the Hebrew word “desire” – “Ratzon,” on the other hand, is a desire that is aimed at the Creator.
This land is called Canaan now and at the moment it is aimed at a totally different direction. Seven nations (according to the number of the Sefirot) live in it; seven forces that pull everyone who has these desires in the opposite direction. This means that it is the same Egypt but in a more serious form. This is the reason that it is possible to cross the Red Sea, to undergo the experience of Mount Sinai and the desert, and at the same time to enter the state of the land of Canaan before it is conquered by the nation of Israel, that is, the very strong egoistic desires that are on guard, protecting themselves.
According to the egoistic state, the land of Israel is much higher than Egypt. For Pharaoh the nation of Israel is the intention to work in order to bestow upon themselves by receiving on purpose: I give to you, but eventually I receive from you, like a good owner of some factory who cares about his employees because he profits from them and it is much more worthwhile for him. This means that Pharaoh is a normal capitalist with a healthy approach. He says: “Go out and work and you will receive everything: meat, fish, and vegetables. You can live wherever you want and you can observe your religion. I don’t prohibit anything, just work! Do you wish to organize differently? Go ahead! But under my supervision!”
On the whole, he is a good and caring employer, who doesn’t suppress his subjects as long as they don’t rise against him and refuse to accept him as their employer anymore. This is the reason that he is ready to give them the best conditions: Do you want a pension fund? Here you are! A vacation? Here you are. Do you want it twice a year? That’s fine! Do you want extra pay? Okay! The best conditions for your kids: kindergartens and schools? I will do everything! It will be heaven! You don’t need to think about anything but simply do what you are told and that’s all! The only condition he has is that: “You should be loyal to me and then you will be well off.” This is called to bestow in order to receive. If you don’t accept this, you have a problem with Pharaoh and should therefore gather all the forces in order to overcome him and to move forward. This is what happened in Egypt.
But now we reach the next level called the land of Canaan, the future land of Israel. The land of Canaan is much higher than Egypt. When the nation of Israel enters it this level becomes increasingly more egoistic. They have seven sub levels called seven nations, seven egoistic desires. They are so big that they oppose the attribute of bestowal, of getting closer, of mutual support and mutual guarantee, that they are ready to tear to pieces anyone who begins to think about love and bestowal.
Therefore, when we approach the state called the land of Canaan, which means its borders, we begin to feel the deadly cold coming from there. If you want to unite, to love others, and to establish good relations with others, to bestow unto each other, you feel that everyone hates and rejects you. It is much worse than what Abraham experienced when he saved Lot from Sodom because everyone lived for himself there. This is how we want to live today. Everyone has everything of his own: “I have my own house and my car; I am alone in my home and I am alone in my car. I don’t need anyone. If I need someone I can invite him for an hour or two and that’s enough.”
This is Sodom, where everyone lives by himself. According to the laws of Sodom if you let someone spend the night at your home, then you are an enemy. You are breaking the social laws that are based on the fact that no one has any relations with anyone else; no one helps others, and there is no mutuality anywhere. If someone is starving, for example, it means that he deserves it and no one should help him. The Creator will help him, don’t interfere. You have no right to. Everyone is managed by the upper force. This is a very deep internal ancient philosophy that has a very serious basis.
But the land of Canaan is much worse. When the children of Israel begin to feel the cold that is beyond the border called the land of Canaan, which they have to overcome in order to conquer this land and to turn it into the land of Israel, they discover obstacles on a level to which they cannot ascend. It is many times bigger than the Wall of China. This means that you have to change the small ego that is left, which suddenly grows sky high, and then the next level you should reach is revealed and you feel like a dwarf compared to it. What is more, this obstacle is ideological and clever.
It pressures, convinces, and proves to you that you are doing something that is totally wrong, aiming against the Creator! Who sent you to do that? Did He send you? How can that be? After all it is all in contrast to Him! Even the message “send,” which means “send the spied there,” is against His condition to advance in faith above reason, and to advance in bestowal disregarding everything. So can you send someone?
It turns out that it is impossible to overcome the level itself by our own mind and feelings. That’s the way it always is in the spiritual work. You face a state that you cannot grasp in your mind and which you cannot justify.
Comment: A person constantly follows the pillar of cloud, which means that he advances by faith above reason, and then he suddenly stops and sends spies…
Answer: The people are ready to follow blindfolded, like blind puppies. But in order to ascend to the next level, they have to use their mind, since you can follow in faith above reason in the attribute of bestowal when you raise the mind to an upper level. This is the reason that you are allowed to use your mind, your understanding, your recognition, and your feelings, and now you have to advance above it. This is what the sin and the fall of the people is about: On the one hand, they raised themselves to the level of the new healthy mind, but on the other hand, they couldn’t rise above it. This means that the mind is activated before every spiritual level and it is only afterward that we can advance in faith above reason, since what else is there to ascend above if not above our mind?
Comment: If we compare Sodom, Egypt, and the land of Canaan, Abraham enters Sodom in order to protect the righteous; people go down to Egypt because of famine, but when they come to the land of Canaan they follow the pillar of cloud and are managed by Moses, which means by the point in the heart.
Answer: People enter Egypt because of famine because this is where they receive additional egoistic desires that they later have to ascend above. This ascent isn’t fulfilled by conquering Egypt but when they escape from it. In order to ascend above it, they need the Torah, the right spiritual method. It is only in the land of Canaan that they begin to ascend above Egypt, when they summon great egoistic desires that were increased during their wandering in the desert. This is actually what is revealed before them now.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 3/30/15