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Torah Portion: Shelach Lecha

Book of Numbers

Chaps. 13:1-15:41

         Simple suggestion: Before setting out on a journey, know where you are going and why you want to be there! Easier said than done.

The Lord said to Moses: Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving the Israelites (Num. 13:1). Moses heeded the order, sent forth a reconnaissance mission to the Promised Land, and 10 of 12 spies reported that it was too difficult and too dangerous to proceed. While their report of dangers and difficulties might have been accurate, their mission was not to determine whether it was worth going there. The mission was to facilitate a strategy for capturing the Land.

The consequence of this failed mission was that none of those (with the exception of Joshua and Caleb) who left Egypt with Moses would enter the Promised Land. This generation of former slaves was lacking in vision and had no passion for the task ahead. The challenge of capturing and creating a presence in the Land of Canaan would fall to a generation born into freedom with a commitment to realizing their Divine mission.

Everyone needs a passion in life; a strong desire to realize dreams regardless of their level of difficulty. One’s reach should always exceed one’s grasp. Once the passion exists, the challenge of achieving it inevitably overcomes the obstacles along the way.

The Israelites who left Egypt lacked the necessary passion for creating a new people in a new land. They were satisfied no longer being slaves! It was not for their sake that God and Moses rescued them from Egypt, but for the sake of their children!   We are all children of the children who DID acquire a passion for freedom, a dream of people hood, a desire to realize themselves in a land of their own. This same passion, thousands of years later, would result in the establishment of the State of Israel. One should be no less passionate about visions, hopes, and desires today. . .and the effort required to achieve them.

Albert Einstein said of himself, “I have no special talents. I am passionately curious.”

Rabbi Howard Siegel


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