In Parashat Shelach, Moshe sends out the twelve spies to scope out the land of Israel. They are all mentioned by name and then Moshe declares, without explanation, that from this point forward his student and eventual successor Joshua, who was originally called Hoshea bin Nun would now be known by a slightly different name – Yehoshua bin Nun. Yehoshua is identical to Hoshea with the exception of one letter. The letter yud was added on at the beginning of his original name. What was the significance of his new name?
The Midrash Yalkut Shimoni explains that the extra letter alludes to Yehoshua’s reward for not falling into the same trap as the ten wicked spies. Kalev’s reward was special land in Eretz Yisrael, but Yehoshua’s would only come in the World to Come. His reward was that he would receive the Heavenly reward that the ten evil spies would forfeit. Moshe, therefore, added the letter yud which has the numerical value of ten to his student’s name to prophetically allude to the fact that he would take the reward of the ten. When those then spies gave their negative, discouraging report to the rest of the nation, Yehoshua, along with Calev, not only quieted them but also gave a positive, can-do report in their stead. For this, he was rewarded greatly.
One idea that is evident from this Midrash is the great value of a person that is able to detect a need and personally and proactively step in to resolve it. It is easy to sit back in an armchair and cynically decry a perceived fault in a family, community, organization, or nation – without being a part of the solution. It takes a great person to take the responsibility upon himself to repair what is broken, build what is lacking, and dismantle that which is unfixable. Aside from having the feeling of satisfaction of achieving the beneficial accomplishment per se, this leader has shown that he is one that is counted, in a sense, as many.