Dinah,” Mrs. Levine called her daughter from the kitchen. “Please straighten up the bedroom that Aunt Chayah’s children slept in. Shifi will help you when she finishes her homework.”

Dinah’s cousins had spent a week with the Levines. “It was a lot of fun, but Aunt Chayah’s children can really be messy,” thought Dinah on her way over to the bedroom.

Shifi was hunched over her books at the dining room table. As Dinah passed, Shifi told her: “Before you get started, let me know how bad the room looks. I invited my friend Esther over at four, and I want to make sure we’ll finish by then.”

A moment later, Dinah was at her sister’s side. “Oh, Shifi!” she lamented. “Every toy is out of its box; the books are scattered all over the floor, and it looks like it rained Lego. We’ll never finish by four o’clock.”

Shifi looked up from her notebook and laughed. “Dinah, you remind me of the miraglim.

“The miraglim? I’m not a spy, and you certainly don’t need a spy to see how messy the room looks.”

“No, but you’re doing something the miraglim did. Moshe sent them to investigate Eretz Yisrael and to report to him about certain questions: Are the cities fortified? Does the land have many water resources?

“The spies did bring back the information, but they added an extra detail.”

“What was that?” asked Dinah.

“You know the story, Dinah. Let’s try to figure it out together, and then you’ll see why I told you that you reminded me about the miraglim. I asked you to check out the room, right?”

“And I described exactly how it looked. Believe me Shifi, I wasn’t exaggerating one bit!” insisted Dinah.

“But you added something that I did not ask you.”

Dinah thought. “Yes. I said that it was so messy we would never finish by four o’clock. I get it. That’s like the miraglim, who also said: ‘We could never conquer the land, it’s too difficult.’ ”

“That’s right,” explained Shifi. “You see, Moshe Rabbeinu only asked the miraglim for information. He never asked them for an opinion. He didn’t ask them if they thought the Jewish people could conquer the land. He knew they would be able to do it, because HaShem promised to help them.

“Everything they said was true: the cities were fortified and the people were strong. The Jewish people could use this information as they planned their entrance to the land. The miraglim were not asked to add their own ideas. They should not have doubted whether the Jewish people would succeed. HaShem had promised that they would be successful.

“When I asked for a report on the room, I just wanted to get an idea how long it would take us to do it. I didn’t expect you to announce that we’d never get it done in time. You knew that I would help you. Now, get busy ‘conquering’ that mess.”

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXIII, Parshas Shelach)