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Caleb, Joshua, spies and standing up for the truth

06/07/2018 11:23:15 AM


Jeffrey B. Remz

This week’s Torah reading, Shelach Lecha (“Go forth”) is often remembered (thanks to Manischewitz wine and its logo of yesteryear) for two men carrying grapes. What were Joshua and Caleb doing with the grapes? On the directive of God via Moses, at the conclusion of their 40-day trip to Canaan, they brought reports and fruits to see if it would be a good place for the Israelites to settle.
Yet, the two were outliers among the 12 distinguished men sent. Upon return, the other 10 cited a land of milk and honey, but quickly turned negative, trembling at the site of the Nephilim (the giants) and filed a false report.  “We were like grasshoppers in our eyes and so we were in their eyes.” Their lies scared the Israelites, who, in turn, lashed out against Moses and Aaron, complaining about being brought to die in the wilderness. Some even wanted to return to their land of slavery, Egypt.
Caleb and Joshua stood their ground, urging the masses to have faith since God was with them. Moses intervened with God, who was ready to destroy them.
Think of the courage and strength of Caleb and Joshua mustered to face the mass hysteria. It sets a model for us today as we see injustice committed world-wide and fear mongering by the powerful. Shutting your eyes is easy. May we be motivated to stand up for the truth and take action because the consequences of not doing so could be far more devastating.
Jeff Remz is director of communications and marketing for Temple Shalom.

Sun, November 17 2019 19 Cheshvan 5780