You know that trust exercise they do at camps and retreats when you have to fall backwards and a friend or coworker catches you?
Does that build trust?
I don’t think so—everyone has basically agreed that they are not going to let each other fall to the ground before they start. And if you are “catching” first, of course you’re not going to drop your partner… right?
But it does teach an important aspect of trust. Real trust involves letting go.
Imagine taking a half-finished paper that you’re responsible for and giving it to that friend to complete for you. Would you give her or him the project and walk away, or would you check back over and over? Letting the other person have the space to succeed—or fail—is the hardest part of trusting her or him.
Moses sent carefully vetted people to check out Israel and report back to the Jews. Of course, there was the risk that they would bring a negative report back and cause panic (as most of them, sadly, did). Moses could have given them instructions that would have nudged them to report the messages that he wanted. He could have asked them to report back specifically about the nice weather, the favorable growing conditions, or the abundant produce.
But he did not. He said, “See the land—how is it? And the people who live there—are they strong or weak? Are they few or numerous? And how is the land—is it good or bad? And how are the cities—are they open or fortified?” Rabbi Jack Cohen explains that Moses specifically gave the spies the “safe space” to be able to say that the people who lived there were intimidating, that the land was poor, and that the cities were strong, even though a lot of his legacy was riding on their report. That’s what real trust is. Even at a crucial moment, Moses gave the rest of his team the ability to make their own decisions, and empowered them to decide the outcome. Even though they might have failed Moses in their role of preparing the Jews properly to enter Israel, he succeeded in his as a true leader.