This week’s parsha depicts the sin of the spies who were sent out to scout the Land of Canaan. What was the underlying cause of their sin? Was it their lack of imagination and intuition that doomed them to perish or was it their inability to think positively when it came to the Land of Israel, a land which has stood at the forefront of the Jewish peoples’ quest for meaning since the times of Abraham?

When we learn about the feats of our ancestors and try to glean meaning from their escapades, we need to be able to connect their actions with our daily experiences. For example, I’ve been highly inneffective and increasingly lethargic this week, and realize that I need to change basic elements of my behavior in order not to fall farther. As it’s written: “…one sin leads to more sins.” One needs to change his/her behavior based on what one understands to be proper/effective behavior. It’s even more useful to learn from the mistakes of others and whom better to learn from than our illustrious ancestors?

Had it not been for the sin of the spies, our entry into the Promised Land would have likely ended in failure. Had the spies not sinned, we may not have needed to traverse the Sinai desert en route to the Promised Land. We don’t know what would have happened. The bottom line, is that the sin of the spies enables us to learn an important lesson.

I believe this lesson is two-fold: We must always think positively no matter what challenges we’re faced with, and we must not give in to lethargy. We must set goals, and pursue them till the end. Interestingly enough, the parsha teaches me a critical lesson that I’ve yet to internalize. Just like anyone else, I must not give in to various mood-swings (always stay positive) and stick to my plans (not alow lathargy to overcome). The Torah speaks to me just like it’s spoken to every generation of Jews beginning with the revelation at Sinai.