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Shelach-Lecha. A Question of Attitude

This week we read of the Spies who come back with a negative report from their forty-day tour of the land of Canaan. They frighten the nation with reports of the formidable strength of the Canaanites, and suggest that the nation return en-masse to Egypt. This results in the punishment of forty years, meaning that the Exodus generation died in the wilderness and only their children entered the Promised Land.

What is fascinating here, is that the facts here are not disputed. Only the attitude. The Spies say:

We came to the land you sent us to; it does indeed flow with milk and honey… the people who inhabit the country are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large; moreover, we saw the children of the giants there. (Bamidbar 13:27-28)

The Spies draw a conclusion:

“We cannot attack that people, for it is stronger than we.” (v.31)

And then they expose what really generated that conclusion. It is a sense of fear and intimidation:

“The country that we traversed and scouted is one that devours its settlers. All the people that we saw in it are men of great size.”(v.32)