"And he came to Chevron". Why does the Torah write "And he came to Chevron" in the singular, when it is referring to all the spies, as is evident, from the words immediately prior to that "And they went via the south"?
Rashi explains that in fact, it was Kolev alone who went to Chevron to pray by the Me'oras ha'Machpeiloh for Divine assistance, to ask G-d for the courage to stand firm, and not to fall prey to the plans of the spies.
Why did Kolev alone go to pray at the Me'oras ha'Machpeiloh? Why did Yehoshua not go with him?
We explained earlier how Moshe chose to daven exclusively for Yehoshua, because it was Yehoshua alone whose life would be threatened by virtue of his defying the other spies. Kolev was not in physical danger, because he did not defy them, explains the Chofetz Chayim. His tactics were to pretend to side with them. This would later enable him to surprise them when, believing him to be on their side, the spies themselves silenced Klal Yisroel to hear what Kolev had to say. It would also protect him from the danger of their turning against him - which explains why Moshe did not daven for him as he did for Yehoshua. However, Kolev now faced a different danger. When one becomes an accessory to a crime, however unwilling a partner one is, there is also a strong chance that one surrenders to the situation, and eventually becomes a willing partner to the crime. That is why Kolev deemed it necessary to go to the Me'oras ha'Machpeiloh to daven - to save himself from the spiritual corruption that threatened him.
This explains, writes the Chofetz Chayim, why the Torah sometimes places Yehoshua first, and sometimes Kolev, to teach us, says the Tosefta, that they were both equal. There are two different approaches in handling a potent situation such as the one that faced Yehoshua and Kolev. Yehoshua adopted one approach, Kolev the other. Both were right, both were equal.
And it also explains, he says, why the Torah writes about Kolev (14:24) "And My servant Kolev, since he had another spirit in him"... What does 'another spirit' mean? And why does the Torah not write such words about Yehoshua?
It is because Yehoshua defied the spies openly. He made no bones about his stance. It was Kolev who pretended to side with them. He displayed one point of view, but inside him, there was another spirit, and that is the praise that the Torah bestows upon him here.
This article is provided as part of Shema Yisrael Torah Network Permission is granted to redistribute electronically or on paper, provided that this notice is included intact.

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