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Parshat Shlach

"If you are going to doubt something, doubt your limits" - Anon.

The name of a visionary remains well beyond their death, for more than the vision itself, we are inspired by the our leaders composure and drive. Perhaps more impressive than the Zionist dream was people genuine belief that they would prevail. There was total faith. Not a doubt in their minds.

This week we see Bnei Yisrael confront their enemy - doubt. Doubt in the divine. Doubt in Moses and doubt in their mandate. Initially, they doubt the quality of the Promised land, sending in scouts to investigate the land and its inhabitants. One man from each tribe is sent of a 40 day expedition and eventually returns and communicates that in addition to the land's fertility that it is filled with mighty nations who would surely defeat the people in their attempt to own the promised land. The most profound line in the story comes from Caleb, who along with Yehoshua are the lone voices in belief, he states:

וַיַּ֧הַס כָּלֵ֛ב אֶת־הָעָ֖ם אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר עָלֹ֤ה נַעֲלֶה֙ וְיָרַ֣שְׁנוּ אֹתָ֔הּ כִּֽי־יָכ֥וֹל נוּכַ֖ל לָֽהּ׃

Caleb hushed the people before Moses and said, “Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.”

This lone statement of hope is a refreshing change in the perpetual outcries of despair that permeate Jewish history. This statement is said with such confidence despite the difficulty of the path ahead. In my reading of it, I see it as similar to the confident statement said by a worried parent to a scared child. Resolute, brave but hopelessly fearful. And yet, such statements are so important in ensuring we maintain belief.

This week we lost a great man, Eugene Berkovic. A man who by all accounts was brave, humble and incredibly supportive. His passing can only lead to feelings of despair and disorientation and yet the community must persist in the impossible task of reassuring ourselves that we can overcome this task of internalising his passing. We must find solace in one another and rather than despairing, come together as a community lest we wonder the desert for 40 years.

"If you are going to doubt something, then doubt your limits" -Anon.

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