Parsha: Shlach (2023)

Do we use fear too much?

One morning, Kim Brooks made a split-second decision to leave her 4-year-old son in the car while she ran into a store.

She returned minutes later and drove off with her son safe in the backseat. What she did not know was that a bystander had videoed her and called the police. Before she knew it, she was a wanted criminal with an arrest warrant under her name.

The ensuing drama spurred her to investigate the broader role America’s culture of fear plays in parenthood, culminating in a bestselling book called Small Animals. One of the basic questions Brooks asks is, of all the emotions inherent in parenting, is there any more universal or profound than fear?

It isn’t at all the ideal emotion to tap into, as we educate and guide young souls.

The parsha this week, relates a story of Jewish leaders who instilled fear into their followers. They were spies who were sent to check out the land of Israel but came back with terrifying reports. Instead of empowering the people with courage and confidence, they gave them a dose of fear and anxiety.

However two strong and grounded leaders, did keep a positive and confident attitude. Joshua and Caleb are eternally remembered and recognised for that.

We also have that choice, to either, be with the spies who chose to give a message of uncertainty and anxiety.

Or we can choose to err on the side of positivity and confidence and empower our children. This method always yields a lot more results.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Zalman