Fairy-Tale Theology

Hizkuni Numbers: Shelach

Fairy-Tale Theology

Writers and Hollywood producers have been selling us fairy-tales for generations. They presume that life has a happy ending, dreams come true and love conquers all. Apparently, mere feelings and intentions may overcome all obstacles and alter reality.

Real life is typically more prosaic, filled with disappointments, crushed dreams and broken hearts. Often we are confronted with bleak possibilities and our choices are limited to the least painful one.

According to Rabbi Hezekiyah ben Manoach (Hizkuni) there is at least one feeling that can change reality: fear.

The notorious spies return from their reconnaissance of Canaan and instill fear in the hearts of the Israelite nation. They cry out that they cannot conquer Canaan. Ironically they are right.

According to Hizkuni (Numbers 15:43) their fear created a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t believe you can win, you can never win. That generation would forever be incapable of conquering the land. God can of course perform miracles, but the human element was deficient. The lack of faith in God and belief in self doomed that generation to wandering and dying in the desert.

If the children of Israel would have been braver; if they would have had more faith; if they would have believed in themselves more, that tale would have had a very different ending. Almost like a fairy tale.

May we reach fearlessness, bravery, faith, be the heroes of our own tales, slay the dragons, win the maidens and live happily ever after.

Shabbat Shalom,



To all those struggling with their personal horror stories. Banish fear and hold on to hope.

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