Skewed Vision!

The Torah relates that as the Jews were on their journey towards the Land of Israel they requested that spies be sent to scout out the Land.

12 princes were chosen for the mission, one representing each of the tribes.

Before they left, our leader Moshe gave them a list of instructions of what they were to look out for and to display fruits they would bring back.

One thing is noticeably missing; the spies were not armed with weapons of defense.

It is unimaginable that the IDF would send spies into hostile enemy areas such as Gaza or Syria without some type of armament or backup units.

Why was there no such concern regarding this mission?

With the answer, we can understand why the whole premise of the mission was erroneous and unsound.

When the issue of the spies was first brought up to Moshe, he immediately told them there was no need to send spies for G-d had promised that when they would enter the land they would not be met with any resistance from the nations, for G-d would conduct the battle against their enemies.

When the people insisted on sending spies, Moshe asked G-d for permission. G-d told Moshe that there was no need, however, it would be up to them if they wish to send spies.

Since the spies were not concerned about going unarmed, it is obvious that deep down they believed in G-d’s special protection for their mission.

In truth, this same Heavenly protection would have been provided for the nation had they entered without sending the spies.

The spies, seeing their Divine protection, should have recognized a flaw in their quest to spy the land and should have called it off. So why didn’t they?

The Zohar-Kaballah explains that the spies, who were princes of their respective tribes, foresaw that once they enter into the Land of Israel, the mantle of leadership would be transferred and assigned to the Monarchal tribe of Yehuda, and they would be stripped of their positions.

Their self interest in retaining their positions led them to view things in a negative light and inhibited them from seeing the protection G-d provided for them throughout their 40 day mission in the land.

If there was a personal agenda of the spies to report negatively, how were they able to convince the nation that it was impossible to conquer the land?

The answer may be that the human condition is quicker to see or be receptive to the negative than the positive.

Ten of the spies reported negatively while two spies remained righteous and gave a positive report.

However, once the nation heard the passionate pessimism of the spies, the good spies, Yehoshua and Calev, were unable to convince the nation and undo the damage.

The Torah relates that because the nation believed in the spies’ report, they were punished by wandering in the desert for forty years. G-d also smote and killed the ten spies.

Although this incident reflects badly on the spies and on the Jewish nation’s reaction in believing the report, the Torah includes it in full detail, so that future generations can learn lessons from the mistakes of our forbearers and so that we can chart our lives in a way that history won’t repeat itself.

One has to be blind and deaf not to realize the negative and biased reporting, allegations and UN resolutions against Israel in their quest and interest in protecting their people.

Even when an event perpetrated against us is blatant terror and the extreme hatred towards us is clear as day, many news captions – which give first impressions – convey Israel as the aggressor.

The negative reporting and opinion is so off the mark, it makes one wonder if there is a way to set it right.

Our Sages teach us that what happens to us is often a mirror image of how we deal with each other.

The story of the spies challenges us to make assessments; are our aversions towards others provoked by personal agendas?

If we were to strengthen our positive outlook, attitude and perspective towards our own – giving them the benefit of the doubt or at least not talking negatively about them, with initial focus on our immediate families, then spreading to our friends, our community and all our people, the nations of the world will sense the Shalom amongst us and will realize and respect who and what we really are!