Welcome to the concise, relevant Weekly Dvar. Please read,
enjoy, respond, and pass it on...
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Parshat Shlach contains the famous story of the spies that are
sent in to check out Canaan, which would later become Israel.
The decision to send the twelve spies, however, was made by the
people, as G-d previously assured the Jews that He would take
care of everything. But they insisted on seeing for themselves,
and were instructed to send them of their own accord (13:2). The
tribe leaders went in to spy, and came back with an awful
report, scaring the Jews into wanting to go back to Egypt. What
happened? What happened to the faith in G-d, and with all His
open miracles? What happened to the spies that they didn't
realize that everything they saw in Canaan was actually a
blessing (1 - They saw huge fortresses, but that really meant
that people in it were scared of something, 2 - They saw people
dying, but G-d made it that someone died when the spies came, so
that the people would be preoccupied with burying them and not
notice the spies, etc.)?
The answer lies in their very first mistake.. they wanted to
see the land through THEIR eyes, and that's what they got to
see. Seeing things without the proper perspective can make even
positive things look bad, even if you're a tribe leader that
people depend on and look up to, even if you've witnessed
countless miracles in your life, and even if G-d just told you
that He's on your side! What seemed like a harmless request
turned out to be a disaster that cost the Jews 39 more years in
the desert! And to think that they could have done it right, had
they done what Yehoshua (Joshua) did.. put G-d's name first
(Yud, the letter representing G-d added to the beginning of
his). We too can look at the world and at our lives, and see
living without G-d and the Torah, and it may not seem so bad.
But we'd end up wandering in circles, only to realize that it
was our decision to be "free" that caused us to be slaves to
nature and to our desires. OR, we can find our Torah goal, hang
it where we can see it, and through the challenges and through
it all, we're guaranteed to "see" it through!