Sunday, June 10, 2018

Spying the Land, Flowers and Grapes--* some notes on Parsha Shelach Lecha

Big Grapes! (above), "small" grapes below.  All a matter of perspective!!

They went up and scouted the land, from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, at Lebohamath.

They reached the wadi Eshcol, and there they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes--it had to be borne on a carrying frame by two of them---and some pomegranates and figs.   That place was named the wadi Eshcol because of the cluster that the Israelites cut down there.   
---Numbers 13:21, 23~24

 Friday late afternoon.
Coming home with flowers for Shabbat,
I begin to think about the Parsha Shelach Lecha, this week`s Torah reading.

In the reading this week Moses, by the Lord's command (Numbers 13:3) sent the tribal chiefs to scout out the land, in the famous or infamous story of the sin of the spies.  They came back with a report about the produce in the land--exemplified by the huge grapes carried on a pole by two persons!  But about the people, they expressed fear,  and showed their lack of trust in ADONAI . Only two, Joshua  and Caleb, gave a positive report and would be able to enter the Promised Land.

There are times of testing in our lives, maybe every day, when we have a chance to doubt or trust, to fear or go forward.  I know I am still a huge coward in so many ways, and often my fears give way to doubt or lack of trust.  When I read this I see how it was so terrible to God, and see the sin it is when we do not trust His promises and plans.   What were the reasons that they gave a bad report?  Was it they lacked faith in God and the confidence in themselves so much that they gave a bad report?  Was it that they feared the "reality" of entering the land of Israel, and couldn't see into God's vision and  beyond their small perspective, thus seeing themselves as grasshoppers?  Whatever it was, it was clear in God's eyes that their whole generation, except for Caleb and Joshua, would not enter the land.

 Spying out the land before Shabbat, I enjoyed taking some photos in the green light after the rain cleared.  I noticed how beautiful the greens are after the rain, and what an amazing job the gardeners have been doing this week to make it shine.

  We have officially entered into rainy season!  I was inspiretd to take pictures of  the grapes, somehow setting them up (photos above) was fun to try to imagine the parsha.  Some even landed onto the ground when I was finishing and taking them down,  grapes in the land. 

Allow the yeast to blossom
 Other notes on the parsha:  In Numbers Chapter 15, after the sin of the spies is described, there is the section about  the fragrant offerings to the LORD in the land of Israel.

Included in these verses is the offering of Challah !! As you can see in THIS POST, it was an amazing discovery one year ago to read this Torah portion the first time.    I believe that reading on the Torah cycle gives us a special perspective to see one year to the next as we read the same portions and seek new revelation in each new reading on God`s eternal cycle!

Note:I also like the words in the challah recipe that say to allow the yeast to `blossom`.  

One more thing in this week`s reading  is about the tzitzit and the color blue that is mentioned in verse 16:37,  hence, I chose this blue tall flower this week!  And added the rose, a blossoming complementary hue to the beautiful and harmonizing Israeli blue.

There is a lesson in this parsha, about "perspective" when we look at the great difference in how 10 of the spies gave the negative report, and only Joshua and Caleb were sure that "we will surely overcome it" (Numbers 13:30).  They all saw the same thing, but there was such a difference in perspective. When 10 scouts saw the people in the land they saw the people as huge giants and  themselves as small as grasshoppers.  Whereas Joshua and Caleb understood that to trust in the LORD makes all the view much different and from their perspective of confidence in God and in themselves as going with God, they said "Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it." (Numbers 13:30)

And what about the man who was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day and was put to death, as the Lord had commanded Moses.  What are we to learn from this?  There is so much in this parsha, but for now I will finish my report here.

So that is my report this Friday afternoon as the sun is still  high in the sky.   I don`t know if I told you how much I love the time at the end of the week, as the day starts at night---There was evening,and there was morning,---and begin to enter into the appointed time and Shabbat delight.
Dear Father, Help me this Shabbat to see You and to know that we can overcome all that is in the world because He who lives in us is so great!! Help me to know and trust in You in the deepest recesses of my soul so that nothing outside of me will look like a giant to fear.  May the things we once feared  become little as grasshoppers and may they hop away as we learn to trust in YOU and not to fear.  May we see shift to a heavenly perspective and see see from the lens of the LORD most high.

Blessings and Shabbat Shalom! Shavu'a Tov!  Have a blessed week!

When you enter the land to which I am taking you and you eat of the bread of the land, you shall set some aside as a gift to the LORD:  as the first yield of your baking, you shall set aside a loaf as a gift; you shall set it aside as a gift like the gift from the threshing floor.  You shall make a gift to the LORD from the first yield of your baking, throughout the ages.  --Numbers 15:17~21

Grapes a must for Parsha Shelach Lecha!!Blessings and Shalom, Love, Shayndel


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  2. As I write this comment I think your Shabbat is over so I hope you had a Shabbat Shalom. Your post today is lovely and the meaning very deep. The flowers are absolutely beautiful. The other day I was mentioning rain and how as I grow older it is more bothersome. Yet the rain refreshes and makes things lovely and green.

    I especially like you pointing out that out of 12 spies, 10 were negative and 2 were positive but yet they all saw the same thing. I see the challenge in my journey of life to learn more and more to be positive. Along with my journey comes the knowledge that God is on my side and if God be for me then who can be against me. It seems a lifetime to learn these lessons. God bless you dear Shayndel. Have a happy week ahead.

    1. Thank you Joyful! I understand that about the rain!! And I share in your "life-time" challenge too to learn more and to be more positive! God really is for us! It's a blessing we can encourage each other. God Bless you and have a great week!!♡

  3. Beautifully written and explained Parsha 'Shelah Leha'.
    The two scouts should have only given their report of what they saw, without expressing fear which could be interpreted as lack of confidence in God's power.

    Oh, those grapes - my greatest pleasure and my greatest sin!
    I find it hard to limit myself, and limit one must, as they're full of sugar.
    Your photos are as sweet as the grapes and as beautiful as the blue and rose flowers!

  4. Thank you Duta! Every week parsha is so full of so much, and hard to get into a post sometimes, so am glad to hear your positive "report" that you enjoyed it. Yes, grapes are so good and I must say I ate many in honor of the Parsha!! I don't really know if that is what it means to bring Torah into our lives, but I must say I do enjoy finding connection in the weeks parsha, and guess what this coming weeks has?? Hint something that blossoms!! Its a good one. Stay tuned!

  5. Are those real grapes? (second photo!) They are big!!
    Blessings and happy Shelach Lecha!!

    (note to myself!)