In Parshat Shlach, Bamidbar 13:25 we read: “They (the scouts) returned from searching the land, at the end of 40 days.”
But is not the land 400×400 parsaot (a parsa is about 2.2 miles) and the average person’s traveling distance is 10 parsaot a day and there was a traveling distance of 40 days from east to west, and they traversed its length and breadth (Then the total, including the return trip should have been several times 40 days). However since God knew that He would sentence them with a year in the desert for every day that they searched the land (as it says in Bamidbar 14:34 “According to the number of days which you scouted the land; 40 days, a day for a year you will bear the burden of your iniquity 40 years, and you will know My displeasure”), He shortened the way before them.
Chizkuni points out that the scouts began their journey on the 29th of Sivan (on this year’s calendar that will be this coming Tuesday) and they returned on the 8th of Av (Erev Tisha B’Av).
The Talmud, Taanit 29a explains that if you add up the days, it seems that their tour only lasted 39 days, not 40 (Rashi calculates: Sivan 29+30=2 days, Tamuz 1-29=29 days, Av 1-8=8 days, total: 39 days).
The Talmud answers, Abaye said: Although Tamuz usually has 29 days, in that particular year, the Beit Din (court) made Tamuz a full month of 30 days (with two days of Rosh Chodesh), as it says in Eicha 1:15 “He proclaimed a set time against me to crush my young men.”
Rashi comments (on Ein Yaakov) that when calculated this way, the return of the scouts fell out on the 8th of Av and the people’s faithless weeping (in Bamidbar 14:1, “The entire community arose and raised their voices; and the people wept that night”) fell out on the eve of the 9th of Av (Erev Tisha B’Av) so that Tisha B’Av would be a time predisposed to misfortune and the Jewish people would be crushed on that day in the massacres that accompanied the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash.
The Talmud continues, Raba said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan, The day that the scouts returned was Erev Tisha B’Av. God said to them: You wept without cause; therefore, I shall establish you a weeping for generations on this day.
There was no reason to weep as God had already promised them Land of Israel. They should have disregarded the discouraging report of the scouts and had faith that God would keep His promise.
We see from here that the decree that the generation of the wilderness would not enter the Land of Israel was issued on Tisha B’Av.
As we enter the week when the scouts began their journey, let’s take some time to appreciate everything that the land has to offer by travelling in Israel or enjoying its beautiful produce. For those who will not be in Israel, this is a great opportunity to purchase products from the Israel and tell the supporters of BDS what Yehoshua and Calev said (Bamidbar 14:7): “The Land which we have passed to scout it; that land is very, very good.”
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