Spies Like Us

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Spies Like Us ~
By: 'Michelle Nevada'
Spies Like Us

        My mother is very wise, and she has a simple philosophy for dealing with people, “People are like horses. In order to get anywhere, you must make them feel like they are in control, while you hold firmly to the reigns.” This is the phrase that has long stuck in my head to explain how G-d allows us to make choices, but things always work out the way G-d intended. G-d makes us feel like we are in control, while G-d holds firmly to the reigns. That is why the compounding ironies I see regarding the upcoming Roadmap conference in Aqaba come as no surprise to me.

        First, there is the irony that the conference is at Aqaba. The original venue of the conference, in Egypt, had to be changed at the last minute, and Aqaba was the next best thing, or so the uninformed might presume.

        Actually, Aqaba is the perfect thing. Aqaba is the reputed locale of two important incidents in Torah: the giving of the Torah, and the dispatching of the Spies. It is Supreme Irony (capitolization intended) that there will be a conference to give G-d's land away to terrorists near the very same location where these two amazing events occured, and on Erev Shavuot no less!

        Can no one else see these signs? Am I the only one who sees this? On Erev Shavuot, we will be given a choice between following Torah and following false spies! It is so clear, and so simple.

        The giving of the Torah was the moment that Jews made a covenant with G-d regarding the land of Israel. G-d promised the land; Jews promised that they would take possession of the land. That, my friends, occured on Shavuot, at the base of a mountain very near Aqaba.

        The story of the spies, if you don’t know the story from Parsha Shelach, was the tragic event that insured the Jewish people would spend 40 years in the desert. G-d told Moses to send the leaders of the tribes into the land of Israel as spies. Most of the spies returned to say it was too dangerous to take the land, but Caleb and Joshua disagreed, “You should not fear the people of the Land, for they are our bread. Their protection has departed from them; G-d is with us. Do not fear them!” At that, the entire population tried to stone Caleb and Joshua to death. G-d protected Caleb and Joshua, killed the false spies with a plague, and sent the rest of the Jews to spend 40 years in the desert until every man over the age of 20 died --with the notable exception of Caleb and Joshua.

        The whole point of this story, of course, was that Israel was not ready to take possession of the land because they lacked faith in their role as G-d's people, The people put their faith into their leaders instead of their G-d. Over the next 40 years, the Jews wandered homeless as they fought nation after nation after nation. Rather than claiming their homeland and fighting for their rights, they lost thousands of men in the wilderness, with nothing to show for those battles. Rather than simply taking strength and faith in G-d from the beginning, the Jews had to learn faith and find that strength in 40 years of study and toil. What could have been easy, and was clearly promised, was rejected and slandered.

        Our problem then, and our problem now, are one. We must show that we are clearly ready to take possession of land that G-d had promised us. We must not soothe our worries and our fears by looking for a leader to bring us back to what we are familiar with, what we were comfortable with, and what we have understood: slavery. Even as free people, with G-d clearly pulling for us, we are frightened to see our special role in the world, and we look for "political solutions" to problems which should have been easily and quickly solved. But we choose the "political" solutions, and through those "political solutions" we find ourselves homeless, and in a more difficult situation than we could have ever imagined.

        So here’s the deal. On Erev Shavuot we have to make a choice, the same choice our forefathers made, at the same time, and near the same location. It is a simple choice: we follow Torah and take possession of the entire land of Israel, or we follow those who complain, “Why is G-d bringing us to this Land to die by the sword?”

        This time at Aqaba, may our faith in our covenant with G-d overcome the fears and the false reports of those who would despair at the beauty and the promise Israel. Our leaders may think that they are in control. I just hope we all remember who holds the reigns!

Michelle Nevada lives in a small town in rural Nevada.
She can be contacted at Michelle_Nevada@yahoo.com.


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"Spies Like Us" copyright © 2003 Michelle Nevada.
This article is posted here with the express permission of the author! Full reprint only with written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review or article. This material is copyrighted to prevent unauthorized altering or reproducing for profit.