Of the many lessons that we can learn from the episode of the spies (meraglim) in this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Shelach*, one is the lesson of perspective. When the spies return they report, “it is indeed, a land that flows with milk and honey. See the giant fruits we have returned with…”
A good start… Then, however, the tone of their report changes and the spies tell of giant obstacles (and actual giants!) that await the nation in the Promised Land. Be it enemies abound or the difficulties they will encounter to develop the Land.
The spies (and the nation) failed by allowing the obstacles and difficulties to cloud their vision, blur their excitement and torpedo their national dreams. Their tunnel vision caused them to miss the beautiful land and its fruits – the potential, the bright future, that lay ahead – prosperity and autonomy.
When one changes their focus – obstacles – while they don’t fall away, can become challenges to overcome and opportunities to be met.
This rings true just as clearly today as it did in 3,000 in the desert.
We all hear the reports from the “spies” about life in Israel, that there are “difficulties” and there are “obstacles”. For 15 years we have seen close to 50,000 Olim turn these difficulties and obstacles into challenges overcome, and opportunities for growth.
Calev, one of the two spies who spoke differently from the rest, declared for all to hear, “We shall surely ascend and inherit the Land, for we can do it!”
And WE can.
As we prepare to greet our 50,000th Oleh this summer we invite you to explore the possibilities of life in Israel. Shabbat shalom.
Posted in memory of Hallel Ariel, z”l.
*One of the unique characteristics of the Jewish calendar is that in certain years, for a few weeks, the weekly Torah portion read in Israel is one week ahead of the Jewish communities in the Diaspora.