Israel Forever

For the week ending 16 June 2012 / 25 Sivan 5772

Lesson of the Spies

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

One of the greatest tragedies in human affairs is the tendency of some people to place personal interest above the welfare of the public.

Such a tragedy is recorded in this week's Torah portion. The spies sent by Moshe to explore Eretz Israel brought back a slanderous report, which discouraged the people and resulted in this entire generation perishing in the wilderness.

One of the explanations offered for the motivation of the spies to discourage entering the land promised to our people is that these "distinguished heads of the Children of Israel" might lose their respected positions once the land was settled and new leadership arose.

Today there are politicians in Israel who also fail to think in terms of the public welfare and strive only to advance their own careers. It is hoped that the lesson of the spies will teach them that sacrificing the public good for personal gain ends up with nothing gained, while making the public's welfare the supreme consideration will secure Israel forever.

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