In this week’s Parsha, Shlach L’cha, we learn how Moses sends twelve spies to scout out the Land of Canaan. Only two of the scouts, Joshua and Caleb, are in favor of it, the others are fearful and don’t have the faith nor the courage to enter the “Promised Land.” Likewise, it appears that the people as a whole are impatient and cry out against Moses’ leadership. The narrative describes how it will take another generation before their dreams can be realized. A new generation will inherent the Land.
In the streets of this country and around the world a new generation is now pounding on the doors of the “Promised” land with a new urgency, greater awareness and renewed activism. The youth are ready and leading the way.
The Am Kolel and Kehila Social Justice Committees have met several times to wrestle with how to respond to the unrest and the openness to change. Both committees are in touch with Black activists and are working on what is needed to do the inner Teshuvah to eradicate racism. We didn’t realize how blind we have been.
For decades, like in the Midbar-wilderness of old, we have been reluctant to go the full nine yards. David Axelrod’s piece in the Post last Sunday explains this well. Similarly, we are still wandering in the desert with regard to our people’s struggles in Israel and its relationship with the Palestinian’s still under occupation for more than a generation. The “Promised” land is still elusive to both peoples.
This past week I initiated two meetings, one with our own members and members of Kehila and the other for the Washington Board of Rabbis, to discuss and address the Netanyahu government proposal to annex more parts of the territories. More than 60 attended the Am Kolel Zoom meeting to listen to Amos Gil and Moien Odeh. Sadly, only 16 rabbis attended their meeting. How long can we be in the Midbar and maintain our moral compass as a people?
The sedrah this week includes the mitzvah imperative of welcoming the Ger, the stranger, and giving them the same rights and protections, the Israelites have. And now? The sedrah ends with the visual aid of the tzizit, fringes on our garments to remind us of the Mitzvot.
May we have the vision to see the path ahead with greater clarity, love and understanding. Reb David