The Power of Connection, Rabbi Naftali Reich, Ohr Somayach
They were ten of the best and finest Jewish men, the pride of the Jewish people who had emerged in the Egyptian exodus. And yet these ten men brought untold calamity upon their people. Sent by Moshe to reconnoiter the Promised Land before the people actually crossed into it, these ten spies brought back the most slanderous and distorted reports to the desert encampments. They caused such dissension and turmoil that the entry into the Promised Land was postponed for nearly forty years, after the entire generation had passed away and a new generation emerged.
Meforshim explain that the Torah is teaching us a very important lesson here. There are many forces in the physical world which we instinctively view as destructive, such as dynamite and the splitting of the atom. But in actuality, these very destructive forces can be put to beneficial use. Dynamite can be used not only to wreak destruction but also to clear a path through mountains and forests for new highways to serve civilization. The splitting of the atom does not necessarily have to result in mushroom clouds over populous cities. It can also be harnessed to provide power for industry and private homes. Everything depends on how it is used.
The forces in the spiritual world also follow the same pattern. If a group of ten men could produce results of such destructive intensity that calamity would befall millions of Jews, this was clearly an extremely potent spiritual force. Clearly, the connection effected by the critical mass of ten Jews was so powerful that the group became far greater than the sum of its parts. Surely, this selfsame force could also be harnessed for the good to create the proper spiritual environment for prayers and readings of special sanctity.
A general deployed his army on the battlefield, preparing for the onslaught of a vastly superior enemy force. He exhorted his troops to rise above their limitations in numbers and weaponry, to fight heroically and defeat the enemy against all odds.
In our own lives, we often tend to withdraw into our own insular little worlds, enjoying the comforts and pleasures of our homes and hearths with only a tangential relationship to the community at large. By doing so, however, we forgo the opportunity to be part of a greater good. But if we connect with others in the community, if we forge alliances for the accomplishment of important goals for the community, we can tap into the enormous spiritual power of the group and reap the benefits in every aspect of our lives.