This week we read about one of the most famous missed opportunities in history. The Jews are approaching the land of Israel, but right before entering, they send twelve spies to see what the land is like. The spies report that the land is indeed beautiful and fruitful but is full of the most dangerous people and the Israelites will be unable to conquer it. Immediately, the people of Israel reject the land, turn around to return to Egypt and rebel against G-d. Their punishment is to wander through the desert for another thirty-eight years.
What are we to learn from this story? There are many lessons, but one for the simplest is to look at what the spies themselves did. The spies were leaders for their people, and so hey went into the land burdened down but he weight of the responsibility given to them. However, once there, they slowly lost focus. They forgot all the miracles. They for G-d's command. Above all, they forgot the reason they had left Egypt in the first place, to serve G-d in the Land He had promised them. Instead, they focused on how difficult it would be to conquer the Land and backed away.
In life, many problems can be solved simply by a shift of focus. What do we see before us? How do we view this problem? How do we break it down? The spies forgot the perspective they were supposed to be bringing. They forgot how they were supposed to see the world. Unfortunately, the Jews paid the price for this tragic failure. In our life, the stakes are rarely as high as they were so long ago in the desert. However, the principle still very much applies. Let us always look at the world around us and find the right perspective, so that altogether, we may achieve our goals.