Shlach - For the Sake of Heaven

When the children of Israel were in the desert, they found a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood presented him before Moses and Aaron and before the entire congregation.
וַיִּהְיוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמִּדְבָּר וַיִּמְצְאוּ אִישׁ מְקשֵׁשׁ עֵצִים בְּיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת. וַיַּקְרִיבוּ אֹתוֹ הַמֹּצְאִים אֹתוֹ מְקשֵׁשׁ עֵצִים אֶל משֶׁה וְאֶל אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל כָּל הָעֵדָה
Bamidbar 15:32-33
The Or HaChaim HaKadosh asks, why does the verse present the "man gathering wood" before "the Sabbath day"?

This shows us that the verse comes to serve as a reminder, that after the "man gathering wood" goes out, he is then reminded that it is Shabbat and in fact these actions are serious transgressions. For if it had started out saying "On Shabbat they found a man gathering wood..." then there would be no question that his actions were intentional transgressions. Furthermore, the next verse emphasizes this situation further by repeating the phrase "Those who found him gathering wood" to show that even AFTER the man gathering wood was reminded that it was in fact Shabbat, nevertheless he continued his transgression of gathering wood. Why? Why make such a effort to transgress the Shabbat.

Wood Gatherer's Identity
The Gemarah in Mesechet Shabbat brings an opinion that "the man gathering wood" was in fact Tzlafchad (the father of the famous Daughters of Tzlafchad).
Our Rabbis taught: The gatherer was Tzlafchad. And thus it is said, and while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man [gathering sticks, etc.];  whilst elsewhere it is said, our father died in the wilderness;  just as there Tzlafchad [is meant], so here too Tzlafchad [is meant]: this is R. Akiba's view. Said R. Judah b. Bathyra to him, 'Akiba! in either case you will have to give an account [for your statement]: if you are right,  the Torah shielded  him, while you reveal him; and if not, you cast a stigma upon a righteous man.
Shabbat 96B (Soncino Translation)
Why the Wood Gatherer Transgressed
The “Gatherer” actually sacrificed himself for the benefit of Klal Yisrael. His intention was to
educate and inspire them in the laws of Shabbos observance. Since after the sin of the spies most of Am Yisrael was destined to die in the desert, they felt that keeping the mitzvot were meaningless and had no impact on their life or on their relationship with Hashem.

The “Gatherer,” who was also Tzlafchad (Bamidbar 27:1-7; Shabbos 96:), had intended to raise the morale and spirit of Klal Yisrael. They knew that they were condemned to forty years of traveling through the desert before they could enter Eretz Yisrael, and out of despair they felt that the laws of the Torah no longer applied to them. By committing this desecration and publicly suffering the death
penalty, he hoped to demonstrate to Klal Yisrael that Hashem still cared about them and the laws
of the Torah still applied (Tosafos, Bava Basra 119:). In effect, he committed a sin for the sake of Heaven.

This comes in stark contrast to the actions of spies earlier in the Parsha who brought a negative report with critical recommendations in order to protect their own state.

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