By Five Towns Marriage Initiative

This week we read about the 12 spies who were sent to scout the Land of Canaan. When the spies returned, the pasuk says “va’yeilchu va’yavo’u,” they went and they came (Bamidbar 13:26). Rashi questions why it says they went, when in fact they are returning. He comments that just as their “going” came from a negative source since they had a negative attitude about the land, so too their “returning” was with negativity.

The spies told the nation of Israel that the land of Canaan was “eretz ocheles yoshveha,” a land that devours its inhabitants (13:32). Rashi says that the spies complained how everywhere they went they saw people burying their dead. This was a kindness of Hashem that He caused many deaths amongst the Canaanites at this time, so the Canaanites would be busy with their dead and not notice the spies. However, the spies chose to view this and many other situations in a negative light.

The lesson that can be learned from the spies is very powerful. The attitude we bring into a situation colors how we see it. Many times a situation can be viewed in more than one way.

The lens that we will use will depend largely on our “mood” at the moment. It can be helpful to remind ourselves that the repercussions of how we view an event can impact on our relationships and family forever. In marriage this can be an amazingly powerful tool that can turn a situation from one of negativity to one of closeness and happiness. May Hashem help us to learn from the lesson of the spies so that we choose to view the situations we encounter through a positive lens. v

Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00—11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail

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