The Ironic Power of Pessimism

Shabbat Parshat Shelach Lecha, June 16-17, 2017

By Rabbi Pam Frydman

Our very own scholar-in-residence Rabbi Stanley W. Levy is living proof that the impossible is sometimes possible. We just need to have the vision to understand how to get there, or we need someone else who has the vision to show us how to get there, and then we need to have the stick-to-it-iveness to engage in the difficult work of turning the impossible into the possible on those occasions when that is an option.

In this week’s Torah portion, the Israelites were in their second year in the desert and they arrived at the wilderness of Paran which runs along the border of the promised land. It did not take the Israelites forty years to get from Egypt to Israel. They arrived at the border of the promised land during their second year of wandering. Now you might ask, why didn’t the Israelites just enter the land during their second of wandering when they had already arrived at the border? Why did they wander for a full forty years before entering the day?

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