Speaking against Israel: An ancient sin with a modern twist

The sin of evil speech and the law of reciprocity: Making a choice to see the good.

Rabbi Chaim Richman and Jim Long ,

Peace Now protest against Boycott Law. Archive
Peace Now protest against Boycott Law. Archive
Flash 90

The Torah portion of Shelach begins a turning point in history.

Moses sends 12 upstanding, righteous men to spy out the Land of Canaan in preparation for the Children of Israel's entry into the Land.

Ten of these men come back with an evil, slanderous report that causes the people to despair and cry. This was the first Tisha B'Av, and the disastrous sin of speaking evil against the Land of Israel became the precipitant of countless generations of suffering.

What caused these men to undergo such a crisis in faith, and what is the message for our generation?

In this week's podcast, Rabbi Chaim Richman and Jim Long ponder the perplexing, painful episode of the spies' slander against the Land, and examine why G-d considered this to be a sin of such magnitude - more serious than even the transgression of the Golden Calf - that He decreed this generation would not enter into the Land, but would wander in the desert for forty years.

Our hosts connect this untoward incident with the other aspects of this Torah portion, and offer some fascinating insights that can aid us in doing our part to rectify the sin of the spies against the Land of Israel.