Torah Tidbits

Transitions: A Journey of Discovery

Shabbat Parashat Shelach-Lekha

Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh featured-rabbi

June 13, 2015 – 26 Sivan 5775

Dear Friends,

We are all on a journey.  Sometimes, the journey of life is smooth.  Sometimes, we find ourselves “in transition” with all the accompanying ambiguity, discomfort, and uncertainty that is engendered by such times.  That is when we may need to step back and re-align our spiritual selves as we prepare for the future…

Some transitions are easier than others.  This Shabbat we will recite the blessing for the upcoming new Jewish month of Tammuz.  Rosh Chodesh Tammuz will be on Tuesday night, Wednesday and Thursday of this coming week.  As we contemplate our transition from one Jewish month to another, we pray that Tammuz may be a month of blessing and of peace for all!

This Shabbat, we will also read our weekly Torah portion of Shelach-Lekha.   This Torah portion tells us of a more difficult transition that affected our ancestors in ancient times.  Reading this Torah portion, it is hard not to sense the ambiguous nature of the mission of the spies, dispatched by Moses, to explore, to discover, and to report back to the people of Israel about the Promised Land.

Imagine the reactions of our people to this mission.  Imagine the confusion, especially when the people were frightened by the naysayers among the spies but were then punished for taking the spies’ warnings to heart….Here’s how I imagine our ancestors’ internal conversations:

If we know in our hearts it will all work out well, why did we need to dispatch spies to scout out the territory?!   If we are unsure of the outcome, why are we not encouraged to listen more carefully to those who warn of the inherent challenges of entering the Promised Land?!  It seems as if no matter what we do, we can’t get it right…

In telling us this story, Torah affirms that a very real part of the journey of life, both then and now especially in times of transition, is daunting and, at times, downright confusing!  But, the message of Torah is a message of hope.

Torah teaches us that no matter how daunting and confusing a particular part of our journey might seem, we must always remember that there is a Promised Land up ahead.  And, although our shared goals might, at times, seem unattainable, they are nevertheless essential to our continued search for a path of holiness and of greater meaning in life.

We are all on a journey of discovery.  And, despite the ambiguities of life, as long as we keep our ultimate goals in mind, we will somehow continue to move forward toward the Promised Land or even to our new location on the UJC Campus site.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror