Kenneth Cohen

Nothing to Fear

There is a great deal to be learned from the tragic episode of the spies. One of these lessons is the power that fear has on an individual, if he is gripped by fear.

When one experiences such fear, all logic goes out the window. No longer can a person think in a reasonable manner. Despite the great unlikelihood of the object of the fear coming true, that becomes the one and only focus.

Not only did the spies describe the inhabitants of Israel as giants, they concluded that they were seen as lowly grasshoppers. There is even a Midrash that claims that their evil report described the massive size of the fruit of Israel. They told of how they witnessed one of the giants discarding part of his pomegranate. The remains of this fruit was so large, that all twelve spies, managed to hide in this discarded pomegranate!

This demonstrates how terrible it is to be around negativity, and prophets of doom. Their attitude is demoralizing to anyone around them.

This is why we must surround ourselves with upbeat, positive people, in our lives. Absolutely nothing is gained by being negative and overwhelmed by the challenges that are faced.

If one is filled with faith in Hashem, he is surrounded by the feeling of Divine protection. As long as this faith is strong, we can overcome every obstacle, and slay all of the giants in our path. Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best in 1933, “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at