Thursday, May 30, 2013

Scouting the Land

Shlach Lecha
23 Sivan 5773 / May 31 – June 1, 2013

In this week’s portion, we learn about the scouts that Moses sends ahead to scope out the Promised Land.  Needless to say, they have some awesome Jewish names – if you’re looking for creative options, this is the portion to turn to!  Of the 12 spies sent, all but Caleb and Joshua return with negative reports, frightening the nation, and highlighting their continued lack of faith (despite having experienced the various miracles that accompanied the Exodus).

As I prepare to head to Israel this week myself, I can’t help but wonder what kind of scout I would have been then, and what kind of scout I am today. 


Would I have looked past the giants that were described as inhabiting the land and seen its beauty? 

Could I have brought myself to give a positive report despite the obvious obstacles?

Would I have been able to quell my fears and have unbreakable faith?


Can I look past the complicated political situation and competing values to still see the land as beautiful and desirable?

Can I find and report back on moments of joy, and remain ever optimistic, despite the challenges Israel faces?

Can I put my fear for the country’s future (and personal safety) aside and trust?  Is doing so too passive on my part?

Our ancestors were scared – and I too am scared.  In the portion, God offers Moses the chance to lead a different nation.  Moses refuses and sticks up for his people.  I don’t need or want to be part of any other nation.  But Lord do I wish there were some things I could change…

This Shabbat, reflect on how you talk about Israel.  What informs your language choice / feelings?  If you were a scout today, how would you report on the situation in the land?

Report back.

Wishing you a Shabbat shalom from the Holy Land.

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