This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Shelach, is set only a few days before the Jewish people were supposed to enter the Land of Israel. Apprehensive about their upcoming battles against the nations of Canaan, they request of Moshe to send 12 spies to check out the land. Moshe confers with the Almighty, who allows the spies to go, although the Torah alludes to the fact that this was less than preferable.
The spies see a land that they feel is unconquerable and bring back a report that breaks the hearts and spirits of the Jewish people. As panic begins to break out and the nation is ready to attack Moshe and Aharon, Yehoshua (Joshua) and Kalev (Caleb) step in to defend the Land of Israel.
Is we take a look at these two heroes, we see a significant difference between them. Yehoshua was Moshe’s prime student. He has already been introduced to us many times in the Torah as one who stands by his teacher, never leaving his side, thirstily drinking from every word he says. In this week’s Torah portion itself, the Torah alludes to Moshe giving Yehoshua strength to overcome this challenge in the form of adding a letter to his name.
But Kalev is a personality that we have don’t know too much about. What strikes us first about him is his unusual name. The name Kalev has the same letters as the word Kelev, which is Hebrew for dog. Where is the glory in that name?
Perhaps, if we properly understand the challenge that the spies presented and the character trait that Kalev displayed, we can understand how theKelev teaches us an important lesson about how to navigate through life’s challenges.
"If we stay true to our hearts than, like a Kelev and like