Debby leaned back against a moss-covered rock, and pulled her peak cap lower over her eyes. "Anyway I hate mountains," she muttered. The Cohen family was on holiday in Wales. They had only been there two days and Debby was already complaining. It wasn't that she was having a miserable time, it was just that…

Her mother had asked her to bring in the washing that was hanging outside the little cottage in the morning and she had forgotten and it had rained. Then, when the family had taken a little walk, she had slipped and gotten herself absolutely covered with mud. She was the only one who found it upsetting; everybody else thought that it was quite funny. Now she was stuck on top of this mountain, with nosy little sheep staring from afar and the sun was in her eyes. She was fed up.

Rina rolled her eyes. "Mummy, let's just leave her here. We can pick her up on the way down." Her brother Rafi walked over and sat down next to her on the big rock. "Debby," he started to say. Debby looked the other way. "You remind me of something in this week's Torah portion. I know we are not in school, but Daddy was telling me some stuff, really interesting…" Rafi's voice trailed off. The rest of the family was sitting a little way off, eating cheese and cucumber sandwiches.

Debby looked at her brother. He continued: "Basically the Jews were worried about what was going to happen when they entered the Land of Israel and they wanted to send spies ahead to check out the situation. G‑d and Moses were not so happy about this, because obviously G‑d would take care of the Jews. Eventually G‑d agreed though, and a spy from each tribe was chosen.

"When the spies came back from the Land of Israel, most of them had terrible things to say. They told the people 'The grapes are so big , it takes a few people to carry one! The people are giants, we looked like ants in comparison, we will never be able to win a war with them. And it's a dangerous land; people were dying wherever we went!' This sounded shocking to the people and they lost faith in the promises of G‑d about Israel. The people wept; they did not want to hear from Caleb and Joshua, the two spies who had positive things to say about Israel.

"Actually, the land was not so bad. Yes, the fruit was very big, but that was a blessing. The land was so fertile it produced enormous, delicious fruit. The people were giants, but G‑d was on the Jew's side. G‑d is much more powerful than any human army, however powerful or strong. And thirdly, the people dying wherever the spies went was a miracle that G‑d had performed for the spies' benefit. The people in Canaan, as the Land of Israel was then called, were so busy burying their dead that they did not notice these little Jewish spies, and did not harm them in any way.

"So you see, it is all in perspective. They looked at the land negatively and this caused a negative response from the people, and in turn a negative response from G‑d. If they would only have looked at the Land through positive eyes, life would have been very different for the Jews… As a punishment, the Jews had to wander in the desert for 40 years."

Debby looked at her muddy shoes, trying to work out what her brother meant. "I know", she said. "So basically I could look at the mountain as being beautiful instead of tiring, and the sun as pleasant warmth instead of how much it is getting in my eyes".

Her brother grinned and nodded. "Come, let's go get some sandwiches before they are finished." The two siblings ran towards the others, Debby slipping in the mud and trying to find something good to think about it.