Jews. Smart, ambitious and quite opinionated. We're only 0.1% of the world's population, yet everyone seems to notice us. Jews are well known for their many different opoinions and customs.

One of the first recorded disputes that Jews had amongst each other was that between Moses and the spies 3,000 years ago. We read the story in this week's Torah portion.The spies were 12 community leaders sent by Moses to scout out the best way to conquer the land of Israel. Moses sent them with the mission the to bring back a firsthand report on the beauty of the Land and bring an extra measure of excitement to the Jewish people for their future home.

They report they brought back however, was quite dicouraging. They spoke of a land defended by its inhabitants like an impregnable fortress, of giant walls and powerful armies. The spies did everything in their power to portray the promised land of milk and honey in a very nagative light.

Though this report did pour cold water on the enthusiasm the Jews had had about the Land of Israel, they did ultimately enter and establish the Jewish homeland.

These spies were very dedicated, special leaders of the community. What posessed them to so downplay the very land that G‑d had promised them? They had been freed from slavery in Egypt, received the Torah at Mt. Sinai had had the red sea split for them, did they not trust that G‑d would help them conquer the Land of Israel as well?

Life in the desert, were they been hitherto residing, had been very spiritual. They ate Manna that fell from heaven for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They studied and prayed all day long without a care in the world. All their needs were provided for them without lifting a finger.

They knew that entering the Land of Israel would mean a vast change of lifesyle. They would have to plow and sew, work and toil, and defend themselves. When would they have time to study and pray? They therefore did everything they could to discourage the Jews from leaving the desert.

What was wrong with their decision? Life is not about spiritual mediation. It's about 'entering the Land of Israel'. Taking life head on and making the best of it. Taking every opporunity and challenge and maxmizing it. It's about finding someone who is going through a hard time and making them smile. Even finding something to make yourself smile.

Rabbi Avrohom