Devarim - Restoring Faith

The L-rd was also angry with me because of you, saying, "Neither will you go there."
 גַּם בִּי הִתְאַנַּף  ה' בִּגְלַלְכֶם לֵאמֹר גַּם אַתָּה לֹא תָבֹא שָׁם
Devarim 1:37

Moshe recounts this personal episode in the middle of recounting the events of the spies. So many of the commentators ask, why is this episode of Moshe having received Hashem's wrath is mixed in and presented with the episode of the spies? True, they both had similar consequences, being banned from entering the land of Israel, yet the circumstances were vastly different.

Impacting History
The Kli Yakar explains a simple, fundamental historical connection between these two events. After the spies related their scandalous report on Eretz Yisrael, and Bnei Yisrael accepted this in tears, the entire generation was banned from entering Eretz Yisrael. This, in turn, meant Bnei Yisrael wandered the desert for 40 years. In turn, Miriam died during their sojourn in the desert. In turn, Miriam's Well, the ever-present source of water, dried up. In turn, Bnei Yisrael voiced harsh complaints about lack of water. So Hashem instructed Moshe to talk to a particular rock, which would bring forth water. Moshe, instead, hit the rock twice, and was harshly criticized by Hashem, resulting in his punishment of not entering the promised. land.

From the spies' report to Moshe's punishment, the historical record reveals the direct connection.

Outcome of Spies Report: Loss of Faith
The entire community raised their voices and shouted, and the people wept on that night.
 וַתִּשָּׂא כָּל הָעֵדָה וַיִּתְּנוּ אֶת קוֹלָם וַיִּבְכּוּ הָעָם בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא
Bamidbar 14:1
While the episode of the spies appears to have set things in motion, the Kli Yakar cites it as being an event that fundamentally undermined the sense of faith for Bnei Yisrael. The Kli Yakar explains that just as the generation that listened to the spies would be condemned to not enter Eretz Yisrael since they did not show faith in Hashem. The verse above describes how the people of Israel reacted on the night they received the spies scandalous report of Eretz Yisrael, which undermined everything that Hashem had promised them. This was the night of Tisha B'av,  and the Holy One, blessed be He, said: They are now weeping for nothing, but I will fix [this day] for them as an occasion of weeping for generations (Sotah 35A). And so this night, set in motion by the spies report, became the night marking the great calamities of the Jewish people. This was not simply a night of tears, but a night of abandoning faith! It was the night that despite all of Hashem's miracles and promises, the Jewish people heard a single report proclaiming the challenges of conquering Eretz Yisrael, and all was forgotten.

Moshe's Mistake
"Take the staff and assemble the congregation, you and your brother Aaron, and speak to the rock in their presence so that it will give forth its water. You shall bring forth water for them from the rock and give the congregation and their livestock to drink."
קַח אֶת הַמַּטֶּה וְהַקְהֵל אֶת הָעֵדָה אַתָּה וְאַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ וְדִבַּרְתֶּם אֶל הַסֶּלַע לְעֵינֵיהֶם וְנָתַן מֵימָיו וְהוֹצֵאתָ לָהֶם מַיִם מִן הַסֶּלַע וְהִשְׁקִיתָ אֶת הָעֵדָה וְאֶת בְּעִירָם
Bamidbar 20:8 
Yet even with the lost opportunity with the spies report, and shattering of faith, Moshe served a pivotal role. He had a unique a turning point at the Mei HaMeriva where he could have reset the clock. He could have restored the people of Israel to their previous level of faith. How?

Hashem instructed Moshe to talk to the rock in order to draw forth water. In the natural world interactions with inanimate objects like rock are sensual. We hold rocks. We use tools to break rocks. We pick up rocks to throw them. However we never speak to rocks and expect them to react. That was the greatness of this event, to show the people of Israel how faith can bring wonders that are super-natural, above the natural scheme. This event was considered so important, that it would have been the encounter to restore and elevate the people of Israel to the level faith felt prior to hearing the spies report.

However Moshe missed this opportunity. Moshe missed the chance to restore faith in Hashem with the incident at the rock, making him liable for the people's failing for one that misleads the public (the majority), then their sin  is hung up on him. This is what binds him to the fate of the spies, and this is why the verse "Hashem was also angry with me because of you, saying, 'Neither will you go there.'" is woven into the narrative that recounts the episode of the spies. The two events were intimately connected.

Tisha B'Av Lessons
So not only do we see how these events brought about Tisha B'av, but also how Tisha B'av for the generations could have been nullified and a fortified temple could have been established that would have withstood all that came against it. Instead we see that at the heart of these events was first and foremost a matter of faith, or a lack thereof. So if just one of the numerous feelings we can take into this period is that we focus on matters of faith, seeking to strengthen and enhance our intimate spiritual connection with Hashem.

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