A Ray of Hope – Parsha insights – Shelach (Sages of Mussar)

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One of the worst tragedies in the Torah occurs when “the spies” delivered a negative report concerning the Land of  Israel, as recorded in Parshas Shelach. Their frightening description of – a land of giants; a land that consumes its inhabitants – set off panic in the hearts of the Children of Israel. Because of this display of national despair, HaShem delayed the nation’s entrance into the Land of Israel for forty years.

The incident of the “golden calf,” in which a great multitude of people rose up in the desert and worshipped a “golden calf,” preceded the calamity of the spies. The Children of Israel realized that as a result of the shameful episode of the “golden calf,” they lost the merit to dwell in the land of Israel. As a result they fell into state of low morale.

Subsequently, when HaShem instructed Moses to send spies into the land of Israel, the national consciousness was filled with hopelessness. They assumed that by sending them into a war against thirty-one powerful nations, HaShem was plotting the destruction of His wayward people. Their worst fears were realized when the spies reported We cannot take the land for the people are too strong for us.

However, their negative attitude caused them to misinterpret the true intention of HaShem. Although, the fiasco of the “golden calf” did generate great culpability, nevertheless, HaShem – in His great compassion – offered a way, not to damage them, but rather to redeem them. If they would demonstrate faith in HaShem, that He would perform miracles on their behalf so that they could succeed to take the land – then the sin of the golden would be rectified; and they would again merit to dwell in the land of Israel.

The lesson that we draw from here is that HaShem will always show us mercy and provide for us an opportunity to rectify our misdeeds. However, in order to avail ourselves of His great kindness, we must maintain an unwavering belief in the goodness and grace of HaShem.

A positive attitude will insure that we take advantage of the endless opportunities of HaShem. Then, our lives will be filled with rectification, redemption, and joy! (based on the Magid Mesharim, of  Rav Yoseph Cairo).

Today: Consider the next event in your life as an opportunity for redemption.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation

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