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Steinsaltz

And once the feet of the priests were immersed in the water of the Jordan River, the water flowed backward, as it is stated: “And when those carrying the Ark came to the Jordan and the feet of the priests that bore the ark were dipped in the brink of the water, for the Jordan overflows all its banks all the time of harvest; and the waters that came down from above stood, and rose up in one heap” (Joshua 3:15–16). And what was the height of the water? Twelve mil by twelve mil, parallel to the size of the camp of the Jewish people who were passing through the Jordan. This is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda.

Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, said to him: According to your statement, does a person move faster or does water move faster? You must say that water moves faster than a person. If that is so, then before the camp of Israel crossed the river the water would come and drown them, as, after the water rose up to a height of twelve mil it then began flowing normally again.

Rather, this teaches that the water gathered and rose in heaps upon heaps to a height of more than three hundred mil, until all the kings of the East and West saw it, as it is stated: “And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, that were beyond the Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, that were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel, until they were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them anymore, because of the children of Israel” (Joshua 5:1).

And even Rahab the prostitute said to Joshua’s messengers: “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you” (Joshua 2:10). And it is written: “And as soon as we had heard it, our hearts melted, neither did there remain any more spirit in any man, because of you” (Joshua 2:11). Evidently, the Canaanites were still terrified due to the splitting of the Red Sea, although that had taken place years earlier and in a distant location. It is understood from here how terrified they became when a similar miracle occurred close to where they lived.

While the Jewish people were still in the Jordan, Joshua said to them: Know for what purpose you are crossing the Jordan. It is in order to drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, as it is stated: “And you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you” (Numbers 33:52). If you will do so, then all is well, but if not, water will come and drown otikhem. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of the word otikhem? The Gemara explains: It is a combination of the words me [oti] and you [etkhem].

While they were still in the Jordan, Joshua said to them: “Pick up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel” (Joshua 4:5). And it is written: “That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask in time to come, saying: What do you mean by these stones?” (Joshua 4:6). This will be a sign for the children that their ancestors crossed the Jordan.

While they were still in the Jordan, Joshua said to them: “Take out of the midst of the Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood, twelve stones made ready, and carry them over with you, and lay them down in the lodging place, where you shall lodge this night” (Joshua 4:3). One might have thought that they were required to place these stones at each and every lodging place where they stayed. Therefore, the verse states: “Where you shall lodge this night,” meaning only on that night.

Rabbi Yehuda says: Abba Ḥalafta, and Rabbi Eliezer ben Matya, and Ḥananya ben Ḥakhinai stood on those same stones that the Jewish people took from the Jordan, and they measured them and found that each and every one weighed about forty se’a. And it is learned as a tradition that a load that one can lift onto his shoulders is one-third of the weight of the load that he can carry when others load it onto him.

From here you can calculate the size of the cluster of grapes that the spies carried together from Eretz Yisrael, as it is stated: “And they carried it upon a pole between two” (Numbers 13:23). From the fact that it is stated that they carried the cluster of grapes “on a pole” do I not know that it was carried by two people? That is the only way it can be carried on a pole. What is the meaning when the verse states: “Between two”? It means that the spies carried it on two poles, and four people carried the cluster of grapes together. From here it can be deduced that the weight of the cluster was 480 se’a.

Rabbi Yitzḥak said: They were configured like upper rods of scales [turtanei] that are balanced on the lower rods of scales, i.e., there were not two but four poles. How so? Eight of the spies carried the cluster of grapes, one of them carried a pomegranate, and one carried a fig. Joshua and Caleb did not carry anything. Why did Joshua and Caleb not carry anything? If you wish, say that it is because they were more prominent than the others and it was beneath their dignity to carry such a load. And if you wish, say instead that they did not take part in the wicked counsel of the spies, as the cluster of grapes was brought by the spies to scare the people.

§ Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Yitzḥak Nappaḥa disagree with regard to the dispute between the tanna’im as to the height of the water when the Jewish people crossed the Jordan. One says: According to the statement of Rabbi Yehuda, that the water stood at the height of twelve mil,

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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