Parshat Shelach Spies Calev
Parshat Shelach Spies CalevTempleInstitute.org

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Who are the sources of our information regarding the war? After five get togethers and lectures in the United States that included difficult questions on the situation in Israel, I understood how important it is to check our information sources.

This is precisely the question that arises from the Torah portion we read last Shabbat. 10 spies out of 12 return from the Promised Land with a negative report and most of the nation simply believes them. Similarly today, most of the world believes in the overwhelmingly negative portrayal of Israel that is broadcasted on the news.

The Torah relates that the two spies — Yehoshua and Calev — who brought back a positive report were of a “different spirit.” They dared to express an alternative evaluation of the land, opposing popular opinion and standing strong as a minority voice. In the end, of course, they understood better than the other spies the promise of the Promised Land.

Yesterday at an event in Milwaukee, media outlets were quoted as saying that “atrocities” and “genocide” have been committed by Israel in Gaza. Much of the world hears and believes this sort of fake “news.”

The above accusation needs to be addressed but, first and foremost, it underlines the importance of our information sources. Whose story regarding Israel do we believe? What’s the agenda of the person telling the story? And how do we connect today to the wavelength of Yehoshua and Calev when hearing the news?