But My servant Caleb, because a different spirit was with him and he followed Me wholeheartedly, I shall bring him into the land to which he came, and his offspring shall possess it" (Numbers 14:24).

This part of the Parsha delegates the reward that Calev received for his opposition to the spies defamatory report about Eretz Yisrael. He will inherit the city of Chevron, the location of the M'arat HaMachpelah where the Ovos and Imahos are buried. During the meraglims' tour of the land of Israel, Calev had visited Chevron in order to daven to Hashem at the graves of his righteous ancestors for help in overcoming the evil plan of the spies.

Upon considering this information, three questions come to mind. Firstly, why does the above-possuk mention a specific reward only for Caleb, while not making any mention of a special reward for the other righteous spy, Yehoshua, who fulfilled the exact same mitzvah? Secondly, what is the "different spirit" that was with Calev? And finally, exactly what mitzvah did Calev fulfill to warrant such a tremendous reward?

The Ohr HaChaim, explains that a person possesses within him two opposing tendencies - an inclination towards good and an inclination towards evil. This evil inclination caused the spies to stumble and speak slander against Eretz Yisrael. Calev possessed this evil inclination within him, and that was the "different spirit" to which the verse refers, yet he still overcame that desire and did not fall prey to its entrapments.

He followed Hashem wholeheartedly and therefore earned his reward. By contrast, Yehoshua was not tested by this "different spirit" to join the spies in their evil report. As Rashi, quoting the Talmud, informs us, immediately before the Meraglims' departure, Moshe blessed Yehoshua that he should be saved from the spies conspiracy, appending the Hebrew letter yud to the beginning of his name and thereby changing it to Yehoshua, meaning "G-d will save". This blessing removed his evil inclination toward slander against Israel. The lack of this evil inclination is the reason Yehoshua didn't receive a specific reward for his actions.

One question still remains. What is this mitzvah that Calev performed? The Ohr HaChaim explains that a person's reward for a mitzvah comes directly from his battle with his evil inclination. Therefore, when a person battles against his evil inclination, his battle itself is a mitzvah. Calev fought a battle against his evil inclination, adamantly refusing to join the other spies in their slander against Eretz Yisrael, the sin which caused the Jewish people to spend the next forty years wandering in the desert. It is fitting that Calev received Chevron, one of the four holiest cities of Israel, as a reward for his victory over his evil inclination.

Always think before you speak!

Good Shabbos!

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