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Rabbi Message: July 3, 2018

The Torah journeys this month are about the nature of progress. The stories track our ancestors as they strode from Mount Sinai to the land of promise. The Children (bnei) of Israel are slowly being renamed as the congregation (eidah) of Israel. A congregation implies maturity. The same word "congregation" is the root of the word "witness." A witness takes a reliable perspective.

What is the land of promise? Something that is our right or possibility in some way. Not by our merit; it was gifted to Abraham on HIS merit! In that lineage, it is gifted to us but we must earn it. But we CAN earn it. It is in our nature and possibility. Before we are there, we must move towards it and later we must learn how to deserve it.

In their first exploration, the scouts come back from their mission and report to Moses, Aaron and the Israelites. 10 of them say that it IS a beautiful land but the people are giants. "We seemed to ourselves as grasshoppers and that is how we looked to them" quoting the Israelite scouts. Two of the 12 scouts said "We can DO this. We'll EAT these guys!" Two of the 10 could feel the power that could carry them in. And 10 saw the more rational possibility that a small tribe may not be able to overturn fortified cities and actual giants.

What is this metaphor about in our lives? In our first exploration of something new it is logical to feel like the grasshoppers of this story. Imagination and trust can help us come closer to the new land, the new level. In this part of the torah, something slavish is dying off within us. Something newer and freer will be more able to approach the new level.

May you and I and all of us come to the new land.

Much love and shabbat shalom