Parshat Sh'lah L'kha
This is one of Shabbat Mom's all-time favorites, the story of the twelve spies whom Moses sends to "scout the land of Canaan". The spies scout the land for forty days, at the wadi Eshkol"... (cutting) down a branch with a single cluster of grapes--it had to be borne on a carrying frame by two of them--and some pomegranates and figs."
Upon their return, 10 of the spies declare, "...'The people who inhabit the country are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large..All the people that we saw in it are men of great size...and we looked like grasshoppers to ourselves and so we must have looked to them.'"
And then Caleb, son of Jephunneh, and Joshua, son of Nun, step forward to teach us all a profound, timeless lesson about unshakeable faith and inner strength.
"Caleb hushed the people before Moses...and (along with Joshua) exhorted the whole Israelite community: The land that we traversed and scouted is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will bring us into that land, a land that flows with milk and honey, and give it to us; only you must not rebel against the Lord." G-d is furious when the Israelites continue to cry out in fear, begging to return to Egypt. But Moses yet again convinces Him not to smite the faithless people. G-d agrees, but decrees that no member of the generation that left Egypt will reach the Promised Land, except for Joshua and ...."my servant Caleb, because he was imbued with a different spirit and remained loyal to Me...." May Shabbat Mom's strong-willed son Caleb and her nephew Moses (above, left-to-right), along with all their siblings and cousins, internalize this powerful message about faith in G-d, belief in one's own truth, and deep, lasting love for Israel and the Jewish people.
Today is the 14th yahrzeit of Shabbat Mom's mom (Shabbat Grandma?) Judith Cousin Berkman (Yehudit bat Fayvish), who would be kvelling over the above photo. May her n'shamah receive an aliyah!