A Tikkun (Correction) for the Sin of the Spies

In Parshat Shlach (Bamidbar 13:2) God told Moshe “Send, for yourself, men, and have them scout out the Land of C’naan, which I am giving to B’nai Yisrael…”

Why would God send spies to check out the land when He already knew that it was a good land?

The answer can be found in Devarim 1:22 where Moshe recounts what went on behind the scenes: “B’nai Yisrael approached me and said, ‘Let us send men ahead of us to spy out the land for us and let them bring word to us: the route that we are to go up on and the cities we will be coming to’”.

If God didn’t grant their wish, then B’nai Yisrael may have thought that He was hiding something. Moshe knew of all of the beauty of the land so he didn’t have a problem sending them.

When the men returned from the Land of C’naan, ten of the twelve (aside from Yehoshua and Kalev) mainly focused on the negative things that they saw. They scared the rest of B’nai Yisrael so much that B’nai Yisrael complained to Moshe (Bamidbar 14:2-3) “We would have rather died in Egypt or in the wilderness. Why does God bring us into his land to fall by the sword…is it not better for us to return to Egypt?”

Today, unfortunately the media often blows events in Israel out of proportion in the same way that the spies did. The media is often so biased against Israel that it scares off tourists from visiting.

An organization called CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) finds inaccurate and distorted accounts of events in Israel on the radio, TV, newspapers, magazines and the internet. Even fashion magazines, architectural publications, encyclopedias, professional reference works, geography textbooks, travel guides and dictionaries contain misinformation about the Middle East. CAMERA claims that frequently inaccurate and skewed characterizations of Israel and events in the Middle East may fuel anti-Israel and anti-Jewish prejudice.

Many tourists choose to ignore the media and travel to Israel anyway. Once the tourists arrive in Israel, they see what a wonderful land it is and are happy that they came. Even during the height of terrorism in Israel, there have been Jews from all over the world who emulated Kalev and Yehoshua and said “aloh na’aleh” we are moving to Israel despite what everyone else thinks.

How can we make a tikkun (correction) for the damage that the spies caused?

1. Help promote accurate coverage of Israel in the media by responding to inaccurate reports.

2. Visit Israel

3. Make Aliya.

Rabbi Isaac Arama, the Akedat Yitzchak explains: “They rejected the Land of Divine promise. It is the rejection of the land which has been our undoing throughout the ages. On account of it, we were exiled from our country, divorced from our soil. There is no other way of restoring our integrity than by returning to it