Finding Our Place In This World

17 06 2012

Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Parshat Shelach tells the story of the spies who were sent to spy out the land of Israel. Although Yehoshua and Kalev remained faithful to Hashem, the rest of the group did not, and the mission ended with disastrous results.

After Moshe’s death, when Yehoshua took over leadership of the nation he sent spies again. This seems perplexing. You would think he would have learned his lesson from what happened.

To understand this, we must study the crucial difference between the first and second mission. The spies Moshe sent didn’t think they deserved Hashem‘s direct assistance. The Torah records their statement of self-doubt, “We were like grasshoppers in our own eyes.” They wanted to see if the land could be conquered without Divine intervention. In one sense, this was reasonable thinking. Miracles are not Hashem‘s way of conducting the world. Why then were they held accountable?

Certainly a person must maximize his efforts but there is one exception, in the case of a Divine promise. The spies were wrong for assessing the land in a natural fashion because Hashem pledged He would give us the land. When Yehoshua sent spies again, he didn’t do so to find out if they would succeed. He wanted to better formulate his strategy. His question was not, “Can Hashem conquer the land?” His question was, “What is my role?”

We must ask ourselves, “Who am I meant to be at the moment?” If you think that it’s all up to you then essentially you are removing Hashem from the picture. Conversely, relying on Hashem with closed eyes, is taking away His purpose in creating us. We’re supposed to demand from ourselves to figure out our role. “What am I meant to do?” and “Where’s my place?” are questions we should ask ourselves. But at the same time we must have complete trust in the One who ultimately makes it all happen.

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