The world is a busy place.  It seems that there is always something newsworthy being reported.  Something people will be talking about.  And the media (both social and professional) keeps us up to date on all of this by shouting it at us from every device and outlet available.

Man, I am stressed now just thinking about it.  So anyways, let’s talk about the Parsha:

In this week’s Torah portion, Shelach, we have the Sin of the Spies.  The Israelites sent 12 spies to scout out the Land of Israel. 

Upon their return however, 10 of the spies gave a bad report.  That the land eats it’s people.  That giants roam and that we are like grasshoppers before them.  

The people were terrified by this report.  The prospect of entering the Land now sounded impossibly hard and they wept.

Hashem was angry at their lack of faith.  He punished the people, saying that instead of entering the Land, they would wander the desert for 40 years and die there.  Only their descendents would get to see the Promised Land.  

But why were all the people who listened punished?  Wasn’t it just the spies who gave an evil report about the Land?  Everyone else was just expressing their natural reactions to hearing such news.  Why should the entire people be punished for just crying?

The answer is that the people still had a choice.  There were other voices who argued with the evil report.  2 of the 12 spies (Joshua and Caleb) brought a good report.  The people had the option of listening to them here, even if there were fewer of them.  

Furthermore, the people should have had their own common sense.  Hashem had just taken them out of Egypt with the 10 plagues, split the sea, and gave them the Torah at Sinai.  Amid all the myriad miracles they were receiving, could they really doubt if Hashem would protect them from a few giants?  

Some people get swept away in hysteria created by the loudest voices out there.  But we don’t have to be.  We can avoid those voices by spending less time in areas where toxic opinions are spread.  We can listen more carefully to the rational voices who may not be shouting in the first place.  And perhaps most importantly, we can follow the inner truths that we already know.  We can do the right thing and believe the right thing, and not be led astray by every idea we hear out there.