“. . . and they said, ‘good is the land that G-d gives to us.’” (Devarim/Deuteronomy 1:25). Who is the “they” that said this? Was it Joshua and Caleb or the other ten spies? Why would it make a difference?
The parsha for this Sabbath is Devarim, beginning the fifth and final book of the Torah. It is known as Mishneh Torah, which means either repetition or review of the Torah or explanation of the Torah.
The Israelites heard the previous four books of the Torah directly from G-d who spoke through Moses’s throat. But Moses received Devarim from G-d in the way that other Prophets received their messages from G-d, then at a later date conveyed the message to the people.
A few weeks ago the submarine I was riding had a small casualty. Several sailors reacted quickly and solved the problem. Later that evening the Executive Officer praised the crew over the intercom then said, “I wish you would do it this well during drills.” He nullified his compliment with criticism.
Back to the questions. Rashi gives the obvious answer. Since the words are praising the Land, Joshua and Caleb must have said them. But the Chasam Sofer disagrees. He points out that the other ten spies could have said them since they initially made a positive statement about the land then preceded to undermine it by declaring it was so good the giants living there would never give it up.
How often do you spoil positive reinforcement by tagging on recriminations or implying that it happens too infrequently? Think about the last time this happened to you. Did you remember the compliment or the condemnation? It was the latter, was it not?
If an act is worthy of praise give it its due, publicly if possible. Leave fault-finding for another day and do it privately. By contrast, if you receive a back-handed compliment do your best to forget the negative and retain the positive.
Question – How do you make sure your compliments are purely positive?
You can leave a comment on this question or ask another question below ↓