The Torah portion Shlach relates1 that G‑d was upset with the Jewish people for believing the report of the spies.2

The portion then goes on to relate that Moshe sought to obtain forgiveness for the nation by saying to G‑d: “And now G‑d, increase the might of Your Divine Name Adnay3 so that- as the Midrash explains4 — “Your Attribute of Mercy will overwhelm Your Attribute of Justice.”

Since Moshe was trying to arouse G‑d’s Attribute of Mercy, he should have asked G‑d to increase the might of the Divine Name Havayah (the name that symbolizes Mercy), rather than seeking to increase the power of the name Adnay — L-rd — which is related to the Attribute of Justice.

Also, how could the spies and the Jewish people think that G‑d could not help them conquer the land, when they had already been the beneficiaries of many miracles?

The spies argued as follows: G‑d’s supernatural manner of conduct with regard to the Jewish people could only continue while the Jews found themselves in the desert, where their whole manner of existence was beyond the bounds of nature — manna from heaven, etc.

They therefore reasoned that the miracles performed on behalf of the Jewish people while they existed in this state could not be expected to continue when the Jews entered Eretz Yisrael , where they were to embark on a lifestyle that would deal with the material world in a natural manner.

The spies were tragically mistake. Although G‑d ordained that the world should exist in a natural manner, He is in no way bound to this manner — He can change the course of nature at will.

Moreover, since Jews are “truly a part of G‑d above,”5 they too are not bound by the limitations of nature, and when necessary can position themselves above and beyond its constraints.

The Divine name Adnay — “L-rd of the whole earth” — governs the conduct of nature, as this name and attribute of Kingship is responsible for creating and sustaining the world in a manner whereby the world appears to be a wholly separate and independent entity, entirely governed by the laws of nature.6

At the same time, the Divine name Adnay, “L-rd of the whole earth,” indicates that G‑d is master of the planet, and as such is able to change nature’s rules whenever He so desires.

Thus, when the spies claimed that G‑d was limited by the constraints of nature, they were in effect casting aspersions on the Divine name Adnay , which refers to G‑d’s mastery over creation.

Moshe therefore beseeched G‑d to increase the might of the Divine Name Adnay — that the true power of Adnay be revealed — to show that G‑d has full and complete control over nature.

The spies’ lack of understanding of Adnay — G‑d’s mastery over creation — stemmed in part from their inability to recognize the qualities of the Jewish people — that even though Jews find themselves within the world, they are not shackled by its laws.

The spies mistakenly thought that the Jews’ relationship with G‑d was limited to their otherworldly actions — praying, studying Torah and performing mitzvos ; while occupied in normal, natural affairs — they thought — there would be no difference between Jew and non-Jew.

Since they failed to realize that the Jewish people exist supernaturally even while functioning in the natural world, they also failed to perceive how a G‑dliness that transcends nature exists within nature. By “increasing” — i.e., revealing — the might of the Divine Name Adnay , their mistake was rectified.

Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. XVIII, pp. 171-174.