11 Jun Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Sh’lach L’cha
This week we read from Parashat Sh’lach L’cha which is arguably the low point in the forty years the Israelites spent in the desert (the only other candidate being the sin of the golden calf). In fact, it is because of the events that transpire in this week’s parashathat the Israelites spend forty years wandering around the wilderness of Sinai in the first place. Up until this moment they had been planning to enter into the Promised Land quite soon, but then the idea got into their heads – not Moshe’s or God’s – to send some scouts to check out the land that God had promised to them. While not an altogether terrible idea, the result was a report from ten of the twelve that the land was filled with giants and fortified cities that would be difficult to conquer for even the most trained of armies. This perceived lack of faith in God’s abilities to bequeath the Promised Land to the Israelites was what caused the punishment of the forty years in the desert. It is a depressing story, no matter how you slice it and just goes to show that when on a journey, you haven’t arrived until you’ve actually arrived and the road can always get longer. It got way long for the Israelites and ultimately many of them never made it to the end of the road. Hopefully we can learn to appreciate moments of accomplishment when they happen upon us because we know how easily they can slip away.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik