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Parashat Vayakel

As Season Five of 'Days of our Deserts' comes to a close, the main character, Moses (played by Hugh Jackman) stands before the whole ensemble, places his hands on the shoulders of his disciple, Joshua (Zac Efron) and whispers slowly and purposefully "be strong and courageous".

These two words go on to be the tagline for season six; Joshua's season. As credits roll on season 5, the advert for season 6 plays - Joshua emerges from a dark haze, followed by 12,000 warriors to conquer a piece of the land of Israel while the words "be strong and courageous" play as a voiceover. Flash to the walls of Jericho tumbling down - the words "be strong and courageous" flash across the scene. Fade to darkness.

A Midrash (stories that explain the Torah) makes clear that Moses was referring to courage in the form of seeking help. Joshua is not alone in season 6, the elders of Zion are there to assist him in leading the nation (picture Archie from Riverdale backed up by the cast of Golden Girls). They are knowledgeable and have a good understanding of the nation of Israel.

A Mishna (law derived from the oral Torah) brings down that 'the more council, the more the understanding' referring to the fact that when we need to make a decision, seeking out the advice of someone who can see our dilemma from an objective point of view is abundantly helpful. Moses encourages Joshua to seek advice from the elders when he needs it.

Later though, Hashem tells Joshua specifically "you will lead the people", making it clear that Joshua and Joshua alone was chosen to lead this new generation into season 6.

Sure, by now Moses and G-d are like an old married couple, but they aren't usually known to give off two different messages - the one telling Joshua that he is to lead with the elders, the other telling him he is to lead alone.

This is a lesson in decision making. We must have the strength and courage to seek advice, even when it takes a great amount of humility to admit you need help. But the final decision must be made alone and come from within.

Isn't it wonderful when the Torah comes with handy everyday life tips?

Be strong and courageous


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