Parashat Shlach

In Parashat Shelach, God tells Moshe to send twelve Meraglim, scouts, on an expedition to explore the Land of Israel. Ten out of the twelve Meraglim return with a not-so-flattering report about this land of milk and honey, telling Bnai Yisrael: “And we were in our own eyes as grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes” (Numbers 13:33). The Midrash in Tanhuma Shelach 7 points out a flaw in the logic of the Meraglim. In this Midrash, God tells the Meraglim: “I am ready to put up with you saying that you were in your own eyes like grasshoppers, but I take offense at your saying that you were also like grasshoppers in the eyes of the inhabitants of Israel! How could you possibly know how I made you appear in their eyes? For all you know, you could have looked like angels in their eyes!”

Why did ten of the Meraglim bring back such an unreliable and negative report about the Land? The Meraglim may have unconsciously wanted to stay in the desert and not enter this new and foreign place. After all, the Meraglim had the ammenities of a child moving back home after graduating from college: free food, free rent, and more!

Perhaps the ten Meraglim were so comfortable with their desert lifestyles that they had no desire to move forward with a new life in the land of Israel, a life that involved uncertainties and a new level of trust in God’s protection. Are we sometimes tempted to keep things as status quo rather than make changes in our own lives? Let’s cut down on our grasshopper excuses and move forward with steps that will benefit us in the long run.

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