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Parashat Shelah Lecha


Hazak Ubaruch!

In the Torah portion this week, we read about the story of the spies, and it starts with Moshe changing the name of his devoted student Hosheah to Yehoshua. Taking a letter from G-D’s name and adding it to the beginning of his student’s name.

Our sages explain that Moshe prayed for him not to be influenced by evil counsel. The obvious question is why didn’t Moshe pray for them all not just his beloved student?!

The Targum Jonathan answers that Yehoshua was exceedingly humble, and Moshe was concerned that this might be his undoing.

Yehoshua was profoundly humble and self-effacing before his great teacher. Indeed, even after he was invested as Moshe‘s successor, G-d said to him, “be strong and brave, because you must bring this people into the land”. He was told to lead with authority and firmness precisely because of the risk that his profound humility might detract from the necessary authority of leadership.

No other character trait is as virtuous as humility. But we must exercise caution that it is not misapplied. We should instead reinforce and strengthen those people who are leading by example in performance of good deeds. That is the source of our custom to say ‘Hazak Ubaruch!’ to strengthen the firmness of our convictions.