Gershon Hepner
Gershon Hepner

Why the Expedition of the Twelve Spies was Disastrous

Appointing spies to help the Israelites to conquer Canaan,

Moses did not choose a single lady,
and very sadly clearly failed to realize
there was a chance that some of the twelve spies
whom he appointed would come back with a report about

the conquest that was shamefully most shady.

All spies were men, engendered to be too susceptible

to anti-Zionistic media,
and very sadly did not share the love he had,
in contrast to the daughters of Zelophehad.
Moses should have also chosen female spies who than he-men

genetically are programmed to be she-dier.

Women would have realized that all the Canaanites

had lost their shadow — understanding sar tsilam,
with tsilam alluding to their tselem, shadow —

thus implying that the Israelites could kill ‘em.

Num. 13:2 states that God commanded Moses:

ב  שְׁלַח-לְךָ אֲנָשִׁים, וְיָתֻרוּ אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, אֲשֶׁר-אֲנִי נֹתֵן, לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:  אִישׁ אֶחָד אִישׁ אֶחָד לְמַטֵּה אֲבֹתָיו, תִּשְׁלָחוּ–כֹּל, נָשִׂיא בָהֶם. 2 ‘Send thou men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel; of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a prince among them.’
Num. 14:9states:
ט  אַךְ בַּיהוָה, אַל-תִּמְרֹדוּ, וְאַתֶּם אַל-תִּירְאוּ אֶת-עַם הָאָרֶץ, כִּי לַחְמֵנוּ הֵם; סָר צִלָּם מֵעֲלֵיהֶם וַיהוָה אִתָּנוּ, אַל-תִּירָאֻם. 9 Only rebel not against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us; their shadow has departed from them, and the LORD is with us; fear them not.’

Kli Yaqar explains—-and I will translate and explain his explanation, which is what inspired my poem:

ה”ר אלא אנשים ממש שאין מדרכן לספר לה”ר.
One explanation. Send specifically men because it is not their custom to tell leshon hara (the sin of saying negative things about people).

ד”א לכך פרט אנשים, לפי שארז”ל (ילקו”ש פנחס תשעג כז) האנשים היו שונאים את הארץ ואמרו נתנה ראש ונשובה מצרימה (במדבר יד ד) והנשים היו מחבבות הארץ ואמרו תנה לנו אחזה (שם כז ד) וע”כ אמר הקב”ה לפי דעתי שאני רואה בעתיד היה יותר טוב לשלוח נשים המחבבות את הארץ כי לא יספרו בגנותה, אבל לך לדעתך שאתה סבור שכשרים המה ואתה סבור שהארץ חביבה עליהם תשלח אנשים וזהו שלח לך לדעתך אנשים, אבל לדעתי היה יותר טוב לשלוח נשים כאמור.

Another explanation why Moses specified men was because the rabbis said in Yalqut Shimoni 5773 27: The men hated the land and said “Let us appoint a new leader and return to Egypt” (Num. 14:4) but the women loved the land and (the daughters of Zelophehad) said, “Give us a possession in the land” (Num. 27:4). And it is necessary to say that the Holy One Blessed He said: “In My opinion, for I see in retrospect that it would be better to send women who love the land because they will not speak derogatorily about it, but in your opinion, since you think these men are upright and that the land is dear to them, send men.”  And this is what שלח לך, send for yourself, means, in accordance with your opinion concerning men. But in my opinion it would have been better to send women, as would be implied (by the story of the daughters of Zelophehad).

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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