Land of Milk & Honey- Faint Praise?

The Torah is parshat Shlach tells us that the Moshe sent spies and they returned with a report about the land of Israel. They commenced the report stating, “the land flows with milk and honey.” We always use this phrase as a praise of the land of Israel. However, based upon Rash’s comment, it might appear not so nice. Rashi says the spies only started this way because when you lie, you start with some true things. According to Rashi, this is no compliment.

The Shikker Dovid would also like to comment on one of the words used. The spies says the land is “zivat chavlav or dvash.” The ‘zivat” is very meaningful. Using a Zav or a Zava- these are not complimentary. It refers toa person who experiences various uncontrolled emissions from its body. It separates people. It can render people tamai in certain circumstances. Clearly this is not beautiful word. It is hiding an ugly idea in a beautiful phrase.

The lesson to be learned is even when we praise, we have the ability to harm. All words must be measured. All words can hurt. Where the spies attempting to win over the people with this phrase or scare the people? The lesson is clear. Watch your words.

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