The “Middat HaShavuah”, taken from this week’s Torah portion of Parshat Shelach Lecha, instructs us to encourage others to have confidence. The verse reads as follows:

Parshah: שלח לך  

Key Verse:  יָכוֹל נוּכַל 

במדבר יג:ל 

Middah: Encourage others to have confidence 

My son, Zachary, who is now 20, used to love an animated children’s television series called “Bob the Builder.” I am not sure if it is still on TV (or however young people watch animated children’s series today) but I am sure many of you are familiar with the show. I was always struck by the positivity of the show. In each episode, Bob and his group help with renovations, construction, and repairs and with other projects as needed. The show emphasises conflict resolution, co-operation, socialisation, and various learning skills. Bob’s catchphrase is “Can we fix it?”, to which the other characters respond with “Yes we can!”

I know this is crazy, but when I saw this week’s Middah, the first thing that came to mind was Bob the Builder and his catchphrase: “Can we fix it?”, and the response “Yes we can!”

In this week’s Torah portion of Shelach Lecha, Moses sends 12 leaders, one from each of the tribes, to spy out the land of Israel prior to their possessing it. 10 spies return with a negative report. They are all dysregulated and report to Moses that they could not possibly conquer the land; it’s too overwhelming. They report that the land is “one that devours its settlers.” They report that the land’s people were giants and stronger than the Israelites, and we are like grasshoppers in their eyes. On the other hand, the other two spies, Joshua (who eventually becomes the leader of Israel after Moses) and Calev, come back with a positive report. Calev tries to calm the people down by saying: 

וַיַּ֧הַס כָּלֵ֛ב אֶת־הָעָ֖ם אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר עָלֹ֤ה נַעֲלֶה֙ וְיָרַ֣שְׁנוּ אֹתָ֔הּ כִּֽי־יָכ֥וֹל נוּכַ֖ל לָֽהּ׃ 

Now Calev hushed the people before Moshe and said: 

Let us go up, yes, up, and possess it, 

for we can prevail, yes, prevail against it!

(Numbers 13:30)

One of the lessons in this week’s Torah portion is that when we work together, we can achieve greatness. When we have confidence and encourage others to have confidence, positive things will happen. When the task before you is so great, so daunting, and so overwhelming, ask for help. Together, everyone achieves more – that is what TEAM stands for! We need the positivity and confidence of Bob the Builder, who reminds us “Yes we can!” We need the leadership, hope, optimism, and perseverance of people like Calev, you said: “יָכוֹל נוּכַל“, “Together, we can prevail! Yes, we can prevail against it!

Shabbat Shalom U’Mevorach,

Moreh Alan