Dear Friend,

At least once a year they come to visit, the misguided spies who earned a place in Jewish history through the unfortunate events of this week’s Torah portion, Shelach.

They had been dispatched with clear instructions: Scout out the land, survey its topography and inhabitants, and bring back a report to Moses. And that is what they did—even bringing back fruit samples.

So why are they viewed negatively for bringing a disparaging report? Weren’t they just carrying out divinely sanctioned orders?

One approach is that the problem was not the actual report, but the conclusions that they drew from it. They were sent to convey what they saw—not to give a feasibility analysis on G‑d’s planned conquest. If G‑d promised to do it, it could be done.

We all encounter obstacles. When we throw in the towel, we’re following the spies. On the other hand, shutting our eyes and pretending the issues don’t exist doesn’t either work—wandering blindly, we’re bound to trip.

This week’s lesson is that we are to take note of the rough terrain, meeting our issues with eyes wide open. But the conclusion mustn’t be “I can’t.” Rather, “It’s going to be hard, a real challenge, but with G‑d’s help I can rise above it all.”

Mendy Kaminker,
on behalf of the Editorial Team