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No recorded events in history have a single version. This is true especially of the protagonists. Each character sees the events from a particular vantage point resulting sometimes in very different narratives. The story of the spies in this week’s Torah reading is no different. There are two versions as to whose initiative it was to send the spies. In our Parshah it is clear that it was by divine command. As the verse states “G‑d spoke to Moses, saying: Send you men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel”. Whereas when Moses recounts these events 40 years later he makes it clear that it was in fact the Jewish People who initiated this. The deeper explanation is that in fact both versions of events are true. To illustrate this point we can use the metaphor of the relationship between a parent and child. As parents we offer both love and clear guidance to our children. This is especially true when the children are young as they are both inexperienced and vulnerable. However as they mature, wise parents create space for their children allowing them to discover their own unique applications of the values imbued in them by their parents. The quintessential example of this dynamic is indeed the relationship between G-d and man. Yes it is true that G-d provides a very clear set of rules to the Jewish people. It is G-d who empowers mankind to realise his/her potential in their fulfillment of their mission and purpose in this word. However it is the same G-d who in his infinite kindness allows mankind the space needed to discover its unique narrative in playing out those guidelines. Indeed Man and G-d like parent and child play this delicate balance on an ongoing basis. To and fro. Like walking a tightrope. Sometimes we are desperate for more guidance, other times we want to be left alone. However at all times we must never forget that like a loving parent, G-d is always present ensuring that in the end his children will succeed.

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