Shabbat Nugget – Turning Failures Into Success

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about the spies that Moses sent to spy on the land of Israel. The spies came back and told the Jews that Israel is too strong for the Jews to conquer. This led the Jews to rebel and G-d decreed that all the males over twenty years would die in the desert and not enter the land of Israel.

The haftorah of this week’s Torah portion tells us a similar story regarding the spies that Joshua sent. However, this spy sending mission is a great success and helped the Jews conquer the land of Israel.

There is a general rule that the Haftorah of each portion was chosen since the ideas contained in the Haftorah are similar to the Torah portion.  The question is that in our case although all both the Torah portions and the Haftorah speaks about spies they have an opposite message. One is about a rebellion and the other is about successfully conquering Israel.

The answer to this question is that there is a great teaching in the juxtaposition of this week’s Torah portion and Haftorah, if a person has a failure in life and then has humility to examine and learn from his failure, then the failure will ultimately lead him to success.  This is what happened to the Jewish people in the desert.  After the failure of the spy mission of Moses, the Jews examined their mistakes and also what positive things could be learned from the spies report.  Therefore, when it came to sending spies in the days of Joshua, they were prepared and did it in the right fashion.  This was an important component for the victory over the land of Israel.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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