Parashas Shelach is normally viewed as a parasha of calamity and disaster. The spies bring back slanderous reports of the Land and the fate of the Jewish People is doomed. Jews between the ages of twenty and sixty must all die in the Wilderness, while Tisha B’Av, the day of the spies return, is etched into the annals of Jewish history as a day of woe and tragedy. The two Batei Mikdash were destroyed on Tisha B’av and other calamitous events have occurred on this infamous day. So how can we be inspired from all this? True, we learn the consequences of speaking Lashon Hara about the Holy Land, but there is more.
The Gemara (Sanhedrin 104b) states that the spies put the פ before the ע, i.e. they spoke before they looked. What does this mean that they spoke before looking? Did they not first scout out the Land and then bring back the slanderous report? The answer to this question is that at the end of the parasha regarding the parasha of Tzitzis, Rashi writes that the eyes see and then the heart desires, and then the body acts out the sin. It is evident that one would have difficulty sinning without first seeing the temptation. We have a rule (Tosefta Sotah 4:1) that מדה טובה מרובה ממדת פורענות, the good measure is exponentially greater than the bad measure. Thus, the spies could have at least given their best effort to see the Land in a good light and then returned with an unbiased report. Sadly, however, they did the exact opposite. They returned with a lot to say about all the “bad” things they had seen. People dying, giants, strange fruit. etc. They looked for the bad and they found it, because their intention from the onset was to slander the Land. We, however, can do much much better. We can look for the good and then say say something nice about it.
Does the Mishna (Avos 1:15) not teach us to say a little and do a lot? Often we don’t even have to do much. If we merely look for the good in everything that HaShem has given us, we will surely find it We can then rectify the sin of the spies and all the people throughout history who chose to see bad instead of good, and then HaShem will bring us back to the GOOD Land, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.
Have an inSIGHTful Shabbos and keep looking for the good in life!