One city remained in the land of the Emorites that had not yet been conquered – Yaazer. Moshe Rabbeinu sent spies, Pinchas and Calev, to scout the land. Targum Yonasan relates that while their mission was simply to spy, they decided to upgrade their assignment to wage war with Yaazer. They succeeded, and conquered the city. They were compelled to act differently from their ill-fated predecessors, the original spies sent by Moshe to scout Eretz Yisrael. They conjectured that their faith and trust in the Almighty would protect them and led them to success. They were not willing to risk that Klal Yisrael’s fear of failure would engender yet another tragedy. Their belief in Hashem reinforced the self-confidence they needed to take that crucial step forward. Their reasoning was accurate. Thus, they emerged triumphant in their objective.
Horav A. Henach Leibowitz, Shlita, makes a note of the commitment, devotion and conviction these spies must have manifested in order to undertake battling an entire city without having been commanded by Hashem. To have so much confidence in the presence of such grave danger must have truly taken a remarkable amount of emunah, faith, and bitachon, trust, in Hashem. They felt they must complete their mission in its totality, to conquer the city, lest there be another unfortunate reaction — as their predecessors had experienced. The previous mission had been tainted. The spies had possessed a minute blemish, a character flaw that would normally have gone unnoticed. This time it did not. It infected a nation and brought Klal Yisrael down.
These spies were prepared. They were armed with the strength of their conviction: ready to go to war – voluntarily. Why? If they possessed such a degree of emunah and bitachon, could they not imbue the people with the courage necessary to vanquish Yaazer? How could they have felt sufficiently confident in themselves to risk their lives in battle, yet be be so anxious that they might not impress the people enough. How did they feel self-confident of success on the one hand, and fearful of failure on the other? Horav Leibowitz feels that this incident presents us with an insight into the flexibility and breadth of perspective of which our minds and souls are capable of and expected to achieve.
At times, opposite emotions necessarily exist within us. Even when we are confident and have complete trust in Heavenly assistance, we must still feel unsure of the outcome. We undertake an endeavor, feeling secure and inspired that we are doing the right thing, yet we must reinforce ourselves with added measures, with supplication and good deeds, just in case our motivation is not one-hundred percent pure — or simply to ensure that we do not deviate from our prescribed goals. At other times, we perceive a lack of confidence in ourselves. A hesitancy and uncertainty permeates our hearts and minds. Yet, we must forge ahead in our plans with resolution and conviction. We maintain a balance when we have both extremes working in harmony with one another. This may be compared to a concert pianist who simultaneously strikes notes at opposite sides of the scales. These notes, although at opposing sides of the scales, blend together harmoniously, complementing each other, producing a sound more beautiful than had they each been struck individually. The human spirit and intellect can, and must, likewise, play simultaneous “notes” at both ends of the scale: using confidence and caution, courage and anxiety to produce a ben Torah, strong and resolute in his commitment. The symphony of sound that emanates from this person is the sound of Torah.