Parashat Shlach

We come to the famous parashah of the “spies”, in which Moses chooses 12 princes of the Tribes of Israel to inspect the Promised Land. Sadly, when they return, 10 of them slander the nature of Eretz Israel and that entire generation dies in the desert. There are many concerns that arise, but I would like to analyze one in particular. Before sending them out, Moshe changes the name of one of them, his beloved disciple “Hoshea” (saved), and adds the letter Yod, and renames him “Yehoshua” (saved by God). The Sages explain that Moshe, sensing the sin of the spies, wanted to prevent Yehoshua from “catching” them and added God to his name to give him protection. And it did work, but why didn’t Moshe change the names of the others? While God also changed some names throughout history, such as Abram without the letter H (father of the city of Aram), to Abraham with H (father of many peoples), that was because Abraham had earned his new name by striving for mankind to recognize God’s existence in an age awash in idolatry. Yehoshua had also worked to acquire good qualities such as humility, etc. The new name was just a little nudge to give him extra protection. There are no shortcuts or magic spells, if we want to be truly great, let’s get to work!