Kulam anashim – kol anashim sheb’mikra lashon chashivus v’osa sha’ah k’sheirim hayu (Rashi)
Rashi writes (13:3) that at the time the spies were sent, they were still righteous and had no plans to sin by speaking badly of the land of Israel. However, he seems to emphasize that they were righteous for one hour, a claim for which there is no apparent source or proof.
When Rav Eizel Charif (nsome say the Chasam Sofer) was a mere 8 years old, he was asked to explain Rashi’s intention and responded with a most brilliant derivation for Rashi’s comment. Hashem later decrees (14:34) that the Jewish nation will be required to wander in the wilderness for a total of 40 years

, corresponding to the 40 days that the spies sinned while scouting out the land of Israel. If each day – which contains 24 hours – was punished with an additional year – which contains 12 months – of wandering, it comes out that for each hour of their journey, they were punished with an additional half of a month in the desert.
We know that although the Jews left Egypt on the first day of Passover – the 15th of Nissan – they entered the land of Israel on the 10th of Nissan (Yehoshua 4:19), which is 5 days short of the requisite 40-year decree. Further, Rashi writes (Devorim 1:2) that even had they not been punished and had merited to immediately traverse the desert and enter the land of Israel, the journey would have naturally taken 11 days, so this period of time cannot be considered to be included in the calculation of the additional time they were forced to wander as a result of the sin of the spies. If so, it comes out that a full half-month is missing from the 40-year period to which they were sentenced. In order to resolve this difficulty,

Rashi concluded that the spies had proper intentions for the first hour of their expedition, and it was therefore only fitting that half of a month should correspondingly be reduced from their punishment, as we now know was indeed the case!

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