These are the names of the men that Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua. (Bamidbar 13:16)
Targum Yonason explains that when Moshe saw the humility of Hoshea, he called him Yehoshua. Rashi says that Moshe changed his name to save him from the counsel of the spies. The obvious question is, where does humility come into the picture to be the deciding factor as to what name to give Yehushua in order to save him the spies?
The Chida points out that this middah of humility was one of the virtues of Moshe Rabbeinu that the Torah lauds. On a simple level we would understand that obviously this was a strongplace of Moshe’s personal avodah, which helped him in his position of leadership, therefore he felt the middah of humility could help Yehoshua stem the tide of the plot of the spies.
Chazal tell us that the reason the spies wanted to denigrate Eretz Yisrael (whether conscious or sub-conscious) was because they felt that their leadership roles would become irrelevant when klal Yisrael moved into Eretz Yisrael. Being that this was the case, they had “reason” to denigrate Eretz Yisrael. Contrast this with a person who was given a post only by the grace of Hashem: He would not consider himself worthy of the post, and therefore would also not have the test of maintaining his position. Hence, humility is a key factor in championing this challenge.
We can draw a lesson from this Chida that Moshe felt it was necessary to find a middah within Yehoshua in order to give him a brocho. The brocho must have something upon which to anchor itself in order to be effective. We too can use this strategy to draw strength when taking on challenges in our service to Hashem, by finding middos which we already have and latch onto them in order to grow.
As an example of this, many times we find ourselves at loss of concentration in the midst of davening, and we look for a way to be inspired. As we gaze around the room, we see others seemingly consumed in prayer, which only intensifies the feelings of isolation and rejection. The yetzer hara tells us “You obviously are not a davener. Give up your goal of ‘proper’ davening, and just let your lips read the words without meaning.” What should one do in this situation? My suggestion is to close your eyes and think of a time in the past when you had a challenge, opened the siddur and with full focus and concentration davened and felt fulfilled. At that point in the past, you surely felt connected to davening. What you have to remind yourself today of is that you have what it takes to rise above this challenge. Now, with this determination, return to Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu and say the words of the segula quoted in the M.B. (98 M.B. 2):
“Lev tahor bira lee elokim v’ruach kodshecha chadesh bkirbi”
לֵב טָהוֹר בְּרָא לִי אֱלֹהִים וְרוּחַ נָכוֹן חַדֵּשׁ בְּקִרְבִּי.
(If you are at a point in tefilla that one can’t be mafsik you should think the words of this passuk instead of saying them). The word “Chadesh” can be understood as “to renew something that we already have.”
With a small prayer to Hashem, refurbishing that which we already have, we can overcome the yetzer hara, just as Yehoshua overcame his own test.
It is within our power!