Torah Portion: Shelach (Send) B’midbar (Numbers) 13:1-15:41
Haftorah Readings: Joshua 2:1-24
Today we read one of the most perplexing Torah portions of the year. In this portion we see G-d instructing Moshe to send twelve men to go up and check out the Land of Promise, the Land He had promised Avraham. This is the dream that had been before the people for hundreds of years and now here is the fulfillment of that dream.
Torah Portion Beha’alotcha (When You Set Up) Numbers (B’Midbar) 8-12
Haftorah Reading: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
There are a lot of things to talk about in this week’s study. I would like us to zero in on a couple of issues I think will be especially helpful to us in our day-to-day life.
First let us look at Numbers 11:4-6. In these verses we read of the complaints of the people about their situation If you remember this is not the first time we see them complaining about something. After only three days and after the miracle of the splitting of the Reed Sea, Exodus 15:24, we see them asking for water at Meriba. G-d does not scold them but directs Moshe on what to do to turn the water from bitter to sweet. Then, after only a short time they complain about having no food. (Exodus 16:1-3) Again, G-d provides manna. Finally, at Rephidim, in Exodus 17:1-7 they complain about no water. Here again G-d provided without rebuking the people.
So, what makes this time so different? Why does G-d respond differently? Maybe the first three times the complaints were about the very necessities of life, food and water. While here in our portion the complaints seemed to be about a lack of variety in the menu. Here they are not actually hungry or thirsty. Here, they are complaining, spreading discontent just because they did not like the provisions of G-d.
Torah Portion B’Shallach (He Sent) Sh’mot (Exodus) 13-17
Haftorah Reading Judges 4:4-5:31
This week’s Torah portion begins with Pharaoh sending out the people of Israel and their beginning of the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. During this trek we also see their journey from slavery to freedom. In this portion we begin to see that both of these journeys will be a process, not an immediate transition.
Torah Portion: Shelach L’Kha (Send on Your Behalf) (Numbers) B’Midbar 13-15
Haftorah Reading: Joshua 2:1-24
This week we read the story of the scouts who Moshe sent to scout out the Land of Promise. In this story we can see so much that speaks to our own spiritual life. To illustrate I would like to begin with an archeological lesson. If you have been to Israel and toured the Land I am sure you would have noticed what looked like hills but look out of place with the topography of the land. These small, sometimes large hills are called tels. They actually are the remains of ancient cities built one on top of the other and over time rise above the surrounding area. If we take a cross section of one of these hills we would find layer upon layer of past cities, each built on the remains of earlier dreams and expectations. Some were destroyed because of war while others were destroyed by natural disasters or were simply abandoned. However, in every case the newer was built on the remains of the older, using some of the same ideas, some of the same material, each reaching higher than its predecessor. Each one learning from the latter. In many ways our story of the scouts is similar. This episode ended in failure. However, the people moved on and in their search for and cleaving to the hope and promise of the Father, did not give up. They went on to more and more as they moved closer to the dream. So should we in our lives. We all miss the mark from time to time. But we should move on. We learn, we grow closer to the Father. We never give in to discouragement no matter how many times we stumble. We press ahead. We pick ourselves up and G-d leads us on. So it was here in our verses.