About this week's portion, Shlach Lecha, I remember reading that the Lubavitcher Rebbe said that the ten spies intentionally gave an alarming report because they wanted Israel to remain in the desert indefinitely.

The reason was that, in the desert, they were very close to God and He was taking care of them completely. On the other hand, in the Promised Land, God would be more distant, they would have to fight the inhabitants, cultivate the land, earn a living, build an entire country... In other words, they would have to live in the real world. They didn't want that, so they tried to frighten the people into forgetting the whole thing.

Does anyone know (1) where the Rebbe said that and (2) what his own source was?

  • 3
    See Rashi on 13:26 for a good starting point: sefaria.org/… Jun 17, 2020 at 2:06
  • 1
    Is there any doubt that they had a hidden agenda? Did they think they were just innocently reporting the truth?
    – Double AA
    Jun 17, 2020 at 12:31
  • For a different perspective on their mistake, see Likkutei Sichos Volume 23 page 92 and on (Hebrew translation).
    – user6781
    Jun 18, 2020 at 13:50

2 Answers 2


Yes, the Rebbe does explain like this and explains the mergalim's report and each of their claims and the response of Kalev and Yehoshua in this light.

It can be found in Likkutei Sichos Volume 4 pg 1041 (here is an English translation and adaption).

It is based on a teaching of the Alter Rebbe, The Baal Hatanya, in Likkutei Torah here and here, which is explained in many places in Chassidus.

The Zohar also provides another motivation, that they believed after entering Eretz Yisroel they would lose their position of authority.


Nochie Wolf answered the question, but for question (1) see Likkutei Sichos Volume 33, Shlach 2, which explains this idea at length, in Lashon Hakodesh.

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