In Parshas D’varim, Moshe Rabbeinu tells the Jewish people, “Hashem was angry with me, as well, because of you, saying you shall not come there” (D’varim 1:37). The context of Moshe’s words is clearly the sin of the M’raglim (the Spies). A number of commentators offer an explanation that Moshe was denied entry to the Land of Israel because of the M’raglim incident, despite the fact that he was personally blameless, based on his general responsibility for the fate of that generation as their leader. Once they were denied entry, it was inconceivable that he would enter without them.

However, Rabbeinu Don Yitzchok Abarbanel zt”l goes one step further and suggests that, indeed, Moshe was culpable for the Sin of the Spies, because although Hashem told him, “Sh’lach l’cha anashim” – giving him Divine permission to send forth the Spies – Moshe added various instructions of his own beyond what Hashem had commanded, and these additional tasks are what led to the corruption of the entire mission. Moshe told the men to find out: “Is it a good land or a bad land?” Why did he have to ask this? The very fact that he asked this question is what led the people astray. The whole tragedy occurred because Moshe put this question in their minds, and now he bears responsibility for it. Therefore, says the Abarbanel, if the people do not get to enter into Eretz Yisrael, then he doesn’t either. In other words, he shares responsibility because he planted the doubt about the Land in their minds. Although Moshe’s intention was, of course, honorable and good, he was liable for changing Hashem’s instructions and thus was held responsible for the terrible results.

Rav Avraham Yaakov Friedman zt”l, the first Rebbe in the Sadigora dynasty, was the second son of his famous father, the holy Rizhiner, Rav Yisroel Friedman zt”l, who passed away in 1850 in the city of Sadigora. His elder son, Rav Yitzchok Friedman zt”l, became the first Boyaner Rebbe, while his younger son, Rav Yisroel zt”l (named after his grandfather, the Rizhiner), succeeded him in Sadigora as the Rebbe of tens of thousands of chasidim.

It is told that two merchants once came to Rav Avraham Yaakov to ask his advice and seek his blessing for an advantageous outcome at the upcoming wheat fair in their county. Each entered the Rebbe’s room separately and asked his question in his own way. The first asked simply whether it was worth his while to invest in the wheat business or not.

“Do not engage in any wheat business at present,” the Rebbe answered.

The second man did not satisfy himself with a simple query, but he went into the details of the proposed investment and its probable success. “If things are as you say,” answered the Rebbe, “be blessed and be successful!”

Each of the merchants acted according to the Rebbe’s advice. The first refrained from engaging in the wheat trade, while the second invested his money in the purchase of wheat. His business did not prosper, however, and his investment was lost.

Later, when this second individual had occasion to see the Rebbe again, he poured out his bitterness over the financial loss he had suffered. “Why didn’t the Rebbe advise me to keep out of the wheat business, as was the case with my friend?”

“Let us understand things as they happened,” the Sadigora Rebbe replied. “Your friend came to me with a question. He himself did not know what was best for him, and he trusted my advice as to whether to do business or not. Because he was waiting for my answer, I responded in the way that Hashem told me to answer, with the first notion that entered my head. The man did as I suggested, and, in the merit of his faith, he was saved from financial disaster.

“You, on the other hand,” continued the Rebbe, “tried to explain to me how the business works and what tremendous profits you anticipated from it. Not being a wheat merchant myself, I weighed the information you gave me and was forced to advise you in accordance with that information. After all, if I were to advise you in contradiction to my logical understanding of what you had told me, you would be led to think that I am a tzadik who relies on ruach ha’kodesh to advise you on business matters. How can I pretend to be such a person? So, you see, by telling me about your business and why you think it should have succeeded, you negated the faith you should have had in attaining ideas that are truly divinely inspired.

“Remember, Hashem helps one in the merit of his faith, and gives the answer to a Rebbe even if he knows nothing about the world of business!”

Rabbi Dovid Hoffman is the author of the popular “Torah Tavlin” book series, filled with stories, wit and hundreds of divrei Torah, including the brand new “Torah Tavlin Yamim Noraim” in stores everywhere. You’ll love this popular series. Also look for his book, “Heroes of Spirit,” containing one hundred fascinating stories on the Holocaust. They are fantastic gifts, available in all Judaica bookstores and online at To receive Rabbi Hoffman’s weekly “Torah Tavlin” sheet on the parsha, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.