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    Why not Caleb? – Sh’lach L’cha

    yehoshuaName changes happen in the Bible for a reason (Abram-Abraham, Sarai-Sarah, etc.). In the sidra this week Moses calls Hoshea bin Nun “Y’hoshua” (Num. 13:16).

    The original name is from a root that means to bring salvation; the new version prefixes one of the Hebrew names of God, arriving at a name which means “God will bring salvation”.

    It is a great compliment to be deemed worthy of being God’s instrument of salvation. But Joshua had a colleague named Caleb the son of Yephunneh. Why did he not also get a new name?

    It may have had more to do with Joshua than with Caleb himself. Moses was very close to his protégé Joshua and realised that his younger assistant would take over the leadership. Perhaps the community would have said that Moses was indulging in nepotism, endorsing Joshua as leader purely because of affection.

    The new name Joshua was give was therefore expanded to include the Almighty to indicate that it was God who selected the new leader, and Moses’ emotions were not the deciding factor.

    If this is what happened, Caleb did not really need a new name – but Hoshea did.

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