And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Send you men, that they scout the land of Canaan which I am about to give to the Israelites, one man each for his father’s tribe, every one of them a chieftain.” Our parasha lists the twelve chieftains (Numbers 12) and many commentators point out that these chieftains are names never seen before. This is strange for on previous occasions the chieftains are named (see Numbers 7) and we’re left wondering what happened. Through a careful reading, R. Meir Simcha of Dvinsk suggests that while the other chieftains were God’s choice, these twelve are the “people’s choice.” This was a test to see whether the people could choose optimal leaders. The failure of the spies is God’s way of showing the people that they’re not yet ready to choose their own leaders.