Thursday, June 14, 2012
Scouting Out Your Life - Thursday Kavvanah, 6/14/2012
The Torah tells us this week in Parashat Shelah Lekha that Moshe sent out twelve men on a reconnaissance mission to the land of Canaan. Their assignment: to survey the situation and report back. Ten of them return fearful and pessimistic; only two, Caleb and Joshua, are hopeful. But the negative report had already sown concern and despair, and as a result God decides that the Israelites are simply not ready to inherit their land.
One might say that this does not work out so well for the Israelites, freed slaves who are desperate for their own homesteads. Forty years in the desert is a punishing sentence. But we might find here an important personal message: that occasionally we have to scout ourselves out.
Every now and then, it is essential to take stock of where you are: what have you accomplished, what is your current outlook, where are you going? Had I not been open to that more than a dozen years ago, I would not have left engineering, ultimately to become a cantor and a rabbi. Today I am much happier and more fulfilled where I am, and I would not have arrived here without some serious introspection. Our post-Exodus ancestors needed to investigate themselves just as much as the Land of Israel, and while the land was found to be flowing with milk and honey, the people's state of mind warranted two generations of waiting.
Perhaps this is the time to ask yourself, "Do I need to perform some internal reconnaissance?" Send out the scouts. Behatzlahah! Good luck.
Rabbi Seth Adelson