Thought for Shabbat
Shelach Lecha contains the well-known story of the scouts sent into the Land of Israel by Moses to check out the territory in preparation for the conquest. One scout was sent from each tribe. Although they all saw the same thing, not everyone agreed on what it all meant. Ten of the scouts were afraid and said that even though the land was everything that had been promised, it would be too difficult to conquer. The other two had faith that God—who had already wrought Ten Plagues on Egypt, split the sea, and fed them manna—would not fail them now. Unfortunately, the voices of the ten won out and the Children of Israel were made to wander in the wilderness for forty years until a new generation arose in its place.
Shelach Lecha can be a reminder to all of us about the proverbial “voices” in our heads. They can often be like the ten scouts, providing a million reasons why we cannot do this or that. They are the voices that traffic in fear, negativity and stagnation. They tell us we cannot get that new degree, lose that weight, find a new job, or even just be happy. How often do we listen to the other two voices? Do we look back and remind ourselves of the blessings that are a part of our lives? If we take the time to really listen to the voices of positivity in our heads and in our lives, we may not only find ourselves avoiding forty wasted years, but also find ourselves in the midst of a “land of promise.”
Rabbi Michael Ungar