Reuben Ebrahimoff




The Haftorah for Parshat Shelach

Joshua sends spies into Jericho

The Haftorah is read from the book of Yehoshua (Joshua), 2:1-24

Here are two oil lamps with the Meraglim ~ Spies (sent by Moses) carrying the grapes.

Images: The Living Torah Museum Brooklyn NY

Mosaic floor from Shalom al Yisroel Synagogue found in Jericho

The connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha: Parshat Shelach begins with Hashem (G-d) speaking to Moses, and commanding him to send spies to the land of Canaan. In this week’s Haftorah, there is a continuation of this commandment, where the Nation of Israel sends spies to look at the Land of Canaan.

The walls of Jericho

The storyline of this week’s Haftorah: Joshua, Moses' successor, sends two spies, Pinchas ben Eleazar & Kalev ben Yefuneh, to Jericho in order to scout out the city. The spies, posing as pottery salesman, arrived at Rahav’s Jericho Inn, where they stayed. The king of Jericho hears of the presence of the two spies, and requests that Rachav turn them over immediately. Rahav’s reply to the king is that these men had already departed.

Rehab snuck up the two spies onto her rooftop

The truth was that she hid them on her rooftop under some flax. The king's men ran down the Jordan roads looking for the spies. Rachav then addressed the two spies: “I took care of you, now you take care of me. I saved your life, now you save my life and the life of my family. We all know that you are Israelites and that Hashem is leading his nation to conquer and divide Canaan into the land of Israel. Please spare us". They agreed, on the condition that she does not report them to the king. Rachav then lowered the spies out of her window by rope in order to aid their escape. Jericho was a walled city and Rahav’s house was built into the outer wall of the city. The men said to Rachav, "make sure that you tie a red thread in the window that you lowered us from, and bring your family into your house so that they too will be spared. When we return to destroy Jericho, we will be looking for the red thread in your window, and everyone in the house shall be spared". The spies left Jericho and hid in the mountains near Jericho until it was safe to return to the Israelite camp. The spies then crossed the Jordan River back into Jordan where the Israelites were camped. Upon their return, the spies told Joshua everything that had occurred. They said that Hashem will deliver the entire area into their hands; all of the Land's inhabitants are in terror of us.

Rachav and the Spies

Joshua's Biography:


  • The meaning of his name means “Hashem will save”.
  • Yehoshua ben Nun, Joshua the son of Nun, lived until the age of 110.
  • He was the successor to Moses, and brought the nation of Israel into their homeland.
  • It is believed that Joshua authored his own book with help from the High Priests, with exception to the final chapter, which was authored by Eleazar and Pinchas. It is the sixth book of the Tanach, and the first book of the prophets.

The Tomb of Joshua ben Noon, Kefar Cheres, Israel

Famous phrases: Joshua 1:6: "Chazak Ve'ematz". "Be strong and be brave".

Haftorahman's lesson of the week: In this week's Haftorah, we learn the formula for success. First, Moses poses the question; "Should we do it?” By sending spies into the future homeland of Israel, he answered his own question with a definitive “Yes.” Once that is decided, you must then move onto the next question: "How are we going to do it?" Joshua sent the spies to Jericho to answer this very question. After answering this final question, Joshua did not wait. He immediately acted in order to accomplish his goal. It is very important to remember this formula. First, should it be done at all? Second, how it can be one? And then finally, do it! Chazak Ve'ematz - Be Strong and be brave!

The Insides of an Israelite House had lots of pottery

A picture of Jericho with the Mountains in the background that the spies hid in until the coast was clear



Map: This Haftorah takes place in the City of Jericho, Israel.

Written by: Reuben Gavriel Ben Nissim Ebrahimoff 5768-2008