Sometimes the weekly Torah portion that we read every Sabbath morning is rather obscure, and we need the Rabbinical commentaries in order to understand it. Sometimes the plain text fairly leaps off the page, and the relevance to today is crystal clear. Yesterday's reading, Shlach (Numbers chapters 13-15) was in the second category.
It tells of Moshe sending twelve spies to Canaan (later to be Eretz Yisrael) to check out the place and bring back a report. All twelve saw the same things, but their interpretation of what they saw was different. Ten out of twelve said that although the land was very fertile, the people there were giants and that they would never be able to beat them and conquer the land (despite G-d's assurances otherwise). Calev and Yehoshua were the only ones who said that they should "go up" (where we get the word aliyah from) and that they would be able to defeat the people, and they emphasized the land "was very good".
Some of Bnei Yisrael listened to the "majority" and began complaining and crying. According to the medrashim, (Rabbinical interpretations) the women agreed with Calev and Yehoshua, and had faith that things would be all right.
In the end G-d punished the naysayers. The ten spies who brought back a bad report were killed immediately, and all of Bnei Yisrael were to wander in the desert for forty years - until all of the men who complained would die off. The women, and those under the age of 20, and Calev and Yehoshua would survive and go into what would be Eretz Yisrael.
There are so many lessons to learn from this Torah portion - the most obvious of course is the fact that faith, or lack of it, in G-d colors your perspective of reality and has far-reaching consequences.
But I have some other questions that I probably won't find answers to about the aftermath of this parsha (Torah portion). When Bnei Yisrael were wandering in the desert for the next 38 years, how did they answer the questions posed to them by their young people (which can be asked today also)?
Questions like how was it that some of the spies (a majority, no less) came to the wrong conclusion, when Calev and Yehoshua didn't?
Why did the women have faith, but most of the men didn't?
And, more poignantly, why is it that we have to suffer for the lack of faith of others?
Painful questions - unclear answers.