Is G-d Vindictive
Moshe Ben-Chaim
Rashi in parshas Shilach (Num. 13:2) brings down that G-d said, "by their lives, I will give them an opportunity to err with the words of the spies so they don't inherit the land of Israel". This would seem like a vindictive statement, but as G-d is devoid of human emotion, how do we understand it?
I believe the meaning is that had G-d not permitted the spies to spy out Israel, they would have been harboring an incorrect notion in relation to G-d. That is, their desire to send spies displayed their disbelief in G-d's promise that they will successfully conquer Israel. If this disbelief was not brought out into the open, they would remain with this false notion, and this is not tolerable by G-d. What does it mean that "G-d gave them an opportunity to err"? It means that G-d gave them an opportunity to act out this notion in reality so it can be dealt with. G-d's goal was not the loss of inheriting Israel. Giving them a chance not to inherit Israel means giving them a chance to realize their emotional conflict of not being desirous of inheriting Israel. In this manner, the Jews are enabled by G-d to face their mistake, and perhaps correct it.
This teaches us that Israel per se is not the goal for man, but rather, man's perfection outweighs the act of living in the land. Since man's perfection was at stake, G-d opted for man's perfection, rather than having him live in Israel.

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