In our Torah portion this week,
Sh'lach, the Israelites are preparing for the next step on their journey as they are about to enter the land of Israel. Twelve spies are sent ahead to scout out the land and bring back a report. Ten of the spies return from their mission with a disheartening report, discouraging the Israelites from their conquest. Two of the spies, are much more optimistic.
I always found it interesting that all twelve spies went on the same mission, saw the same things, and had the same experiences. Yet somehow, they walked away with a completely different outlook and perspective with regards to their future prospects. Nevertheless, as a result of the overwhelming negative feelings and energy, they were hesitant to proceed. Their generation was sentenced to wander in the dessert aimless for forty years. They missed out on their chance to shape the world around them, and experience their own promised land.
During our Shabbat Services this Friday night, we will be honoring the members of our congregation who are graduating from high school this year. Like the Israelites, they are preparing for the next step of their journey, which can be exciting but also somewhat frightening. It can be easy to look at the world that lies ahead with despair. It is a world filled with so many challenges, and problems and it can be a bit overwhelming. But we can also look at the same world, as a world filled with so many opportunities to make a difference.
As our graduates go out into their own promised land, it is my hope that we can learn a powerful lesson from the spies and our Torah portion. May our graduates feel empowered by their experiences within our community to embrace the opportunity to shape the world, and may they be excited at the prospects to grow, to change, and to make a difference.
Please join us as we celebrate all of our graduates during Shabbat services, this Friday night, at 6:15 p.m.