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by Nissan Mindel

Talks and Tales


Library » History » Joshua, The Judges | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Joshua, the successor to Moses and conqueror of the Land of Israel, was born in the year 2406, and lived 110 years. His leadership of his people lasted for 28 years. He belonged to the tribe of Ephraim.

Joshua was the first in the line of traditional transmission of the Oral Law, receiving it direct from Moses and transmitting it to the Elders of Israel. He was also the first leader of the Jews upon their own land.

He led the Jews in the great battles against the 31 kings that ruled in the Land of Canaan, and defeated them all with G-d's help.

Joshua began his leadership after the thirty days mourning period following the death of Moses. On the 7th day of Nissan Joshua received G-d's command to prepare the children of Israel for the crossing of the Jordan, three days later.

Before crossing the Jordan, Joshua sent an "ultimatum" to the kings of the Land of Canaan, giving them three choices: Those willing to evacuate the land could do so, and he would not pursue them; those willing to remain and make peace with Israel on such terms as not to endanger the spiritual and religious life of the Jews, would receive his peace terms; finally, those desiring nothing but war, would be fought in the name of G-d who had promised the land to Abraham for his children for ever.

The king of Jericho received news of the arrival of two spies sent by Joshua, and he sent word to Rahab to have them delivered to his soldiers
Of the different tribes that inhabited the Land of Canaan at that time, only one chose to leave peacefully and another asked for peace. The remaining 31 kingdoms prepared for battle.

The Spies: Joshua selected two brave and faithful men, Caleb and Pinehas, to cross the Jordan and find out what the feeling across the Jordan was with regard to the impending war.

The spies, disguised as potters, crossed the Jordan and reached Jericho, the first fortified city on the other side of the Jordan. Right in the wall of the city was built a house in which there lived a woman called Rahab. She was an innkeeper and a woman of renown in whose inn the nobles of Jericho frequently met.

The king of Jericho received news of the arrival of two spies sent by Joshua, and he sent word to Rahab to have them delivered to his soldiers. Being a woman of character and honesty who considered her duty to protect her guests at all costs, Rahab hid them among the stalks of flax on her roof. She told the king's messengers that two strangers did come to her inn, but they looked like potters and sold earthenware. Nobody took any notice of them, and before the gates of the city were to be closed they left.

Having disposed of the king's messengers, Rahab went up to the roof and told Caleb and Pinehas that all the inhabitants of the land were in terror of the children of Israel, having heard of the miraculous way they defeated the mighty kings of Sihon and Og. "And as soon as we had heard it, our hearts did melt, and there did not remain any more spirit in any man, because of you; for G-d your G-d, He is G-d in heaven above and on earth beneath!" she told them honestly and sincerely. Then Rahab begged them that just as she had saved their lives, so should her life and the lives of the members of her family be saved when Jericho should fall into the hands of the children of Israel as fall it surely must.

The spies promised it to her on oath. Rahab let them down by a rope through the window which was overlooking the plain of Jericho outside the city walls. After hiding on the way for three days the spies reached the camp of Israel safely and reported on their mission, which brought great cheer to all the children of Israel.


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Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Oral Law
G–d orally explained all the 613 Commandments to Moses. These explanations constitute the Oral Law.
1. Assumed the leadership of the Jewish people after Moses died in 1267 BCE. He split the Jordan River and led the Jewish people in their conquest of the Promised Land. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which chronicles Joshua's leadership.
The Jewish Supreme Court. The court would convene in a designated chamber in the Holy Temple, and was comprised of 71 of the greatest scholars of the time. Continued after the destruction of the Temples, but was dissolved in the 5th century when due to Roman persecution the seat of Torah scholarship relocated from Israel to Babylon.
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
The twelfth month on the Jewish calendar. This month (which falls out approx. February-March), is the most joyous month on the calendar due to the holiday of Purim which is on the 14th and 15th of this month.
The first month of the Jewish calendar. This month, which falls out in early spring, is known for the holiday of Passover which starts on the 15th of Nissan.
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
Starting from the second day of Passover, we count forty-nine days. The fiftieth day is the holiday of Shavuot. This is called the “Counting of the Omer” because on the second day of Passover the barley “Omer” offering was offered in the Holy Temple, and we count forty-nine days from this offering. [Literally, "Omer" is a certain weight measure; the required amount of barley for this sacrifice.]
The land which G-d promised to give to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Named after the Tribe of Canaanites who dwelt there at the time. Eventually, when the Israelites conquered the land in 1272 BCE, it was renamed the "Land of Israel."
One of the spies sent by Moses to do reconnaissance on Canaan. Along with Joshua, and unlike the other ten spies, he gave a positive report.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.