The New Shul

Parshat Sh’lach L’kha

In this week’s parashah, Sh’lach L’kha, Moshe sends twelve scouts to explore the Land of Israel. Ten of the twelve — all except Yehoshua and Calev — lose their nerve and report back that the Israelites cannot hope to conquer the land. The inhabitants of the land are so great and powerful, they say, that “we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so we must have seemed to them.”

According to Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk, that last phrase, “and so we must have seemed to them,” expresses what the scouts’ true sin was.  If they felt small, that was understandable under the circumstances. But to grant such importance to what others thought of them — or worse, what they imagined others thought of them — was to surrender their power and freedom. It was to re-enslave themselves.

Often, when we lose our way in life, it is because we have given others the power to define who we are. The Kotzker Rebbe reminds us that our power to bring blessing to the world depends on our ability to hold fast to our vision, to insist on seeing the world through our own eyes. May we as a community help each other to find that strength and freedom.

  • Shabbat services at The New Shul are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. The kiddush this Shabbat, June 14, is sponsored by Ada Anbar.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings.
  • The New Shul is collecting food donations for “Just Three Things,” to help young adults who have aged out of the foster care system. Please bring packaged items that are either ready-to-eat or require only microwave preparation. Contact us to arrange a drop-off time.