Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the 2nd verse in Shelach, it says שלח לך (Shelach Lecha), which Rashi explains as " לדעתך, אני איני מצוה לך". Why don't we give the same explanation the other places in the Torah it says לך. E.g. in Parshas Lech Lecha, or by the Ketores (קח לך)?

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It has to do with the fact that in this case, the same incident recorded later in the Torah, seems to tell us that it was Moshe's own decision (and the populace's initiative) to send the mission. We do not have such exceptional circumstances in the other cases you mentioned.

Edit: Actually, this only answers why Rash"i does comment here. The truth about why he doesn't comment elsewhere is probably just because a verb with a purposeful prepositional pronoun is a standard way to express a certain type of imperative in Tana"ch. See this interesting hirhurim post on the "polite imperative" as a description of this form.

share|improve this answer

Actually the Kli Yakar says the reason it says LCha because Hashem wanted to send Women as spies as they would have never spoken Negatively of Ertez Yisroel so what he was saying Lcha because you only want to send MEN!!

share|improve this answer

The Maskil Ledavid says that Rashi actually learns that it was Moshe's choice from the word "Shlach", not "Lecha".

He says Rashi had a question. Shlach would normally be a command, and if so, what was the purpose of the command? Also, how could G-d command Moshe to do something that would end badly (since G-d new what the spies would do)?

To answer this, Rashi says that Shlach here means if you want to, it is not a commandment, as it would normally be.

Also, the Maskil LeDavid says that Rashi learned out from "Lecha" why this story is said right after the story of Miriam. G-d was basically saying that the spies should learn from what happened to you (i.e. Miriam got punished for saying Lashon Harah about you), and they should realize that saying Lashon Harah about the land would be a bad idea.

If Rashi already uses the word "Lecha" to learn something else, he must learn that it was optional from the word "Shlach".

See there for more details.

share|improve this answer

Its likely an ambiguous phrase that can be darshened in different ways. So by lech l'cha, chazal say it means "go for yourself", for your benefit. Over here, they expalin it slightly differently, "go according to yourself", your own choice.

share|improve this answer

I second Ariel K's answer, that it is an ambiguous phrase, which is darshened according to context and purpose. Midrash is really not that systematic.

But to take the answer in the opposite direction, Shadal actually takes the derasha of לטובתך, from Lech Lecha, and applies it here. See my presentation and translation of Shadal here.

But this is something that many meforshei Rashi would address. For example, Gur Aryeh says that letovatcha == ledaatcha. If you are up for it, you can run through the various meforshei Rashi in my source roundup on Shelach and see what they all have to say on this topic.

share|improve this answer

Just another great answer I saw that I must Share.The Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh on the question of why such Great people as the Meraglim that the torah says when they left where Tzaddikim became so evil so fast (excluding the Teretz that they wanted Moshe to live Longer And they where afraid of not being able to live on a close level to Hashem when not living off Mon meaning afraid of becoming "Kochi Votzum Yodi")So he answers that "Shliach Shel Adom Kimoso" and granted they where Tzaddikim but once you are doing the Shlichus for Klal Yisroel You are going to get there Bad Habits too and The Chasam Sofer builds on this Yesoid and says thats why it say Shlach Li'cha because if not they will get the traits of Klal Yisroel instead of getting the Shlichus of Moshe and getting his Tzidkus and we see what the outcome was.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.