30 Jun Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Sh’lach L’cha 5776
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Sh’lach L’cha in which the Israelites send out the 12 spies to scout the Promised Land to see what awaits them and whether they can conquer it or not. The name of the Torah portion already gives away God’s feeling toward this exercise. “Shlach L’cha” means “send for yourself,” as in, “I want no part of this but if you want to go ahead and do it then have a nice time.” Clearly, God is not a fan of this idea and as we know it turns out poorly. Yet even as the result is the ten spies coming back with their answer that displays a lack of faith, we can still understand why the Israelites wanted to send the spies and recognize that sometimes we need to make decisions that might backfire. Sometimes we need to try things out, not knowing whether they will succeed even when the potential ramifications are very real. The Israelites learned this lesson the hard way through forty years in the desert. We can only hope that when we learn this lesson again, our backlash will be less severe.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik