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Who wants to be the adult in the room? Parasht Sh’lach

Time to stop digging our graves

When the path forward seems impossible, and there is no option to turn back…it is the job of the adults in the room to be courageous and creative.


In the parsha this week, the Israelites encounter the Promised Land. From across the River Jordan.


They send 12 spies into the Promised Land to check it out in preparation for crossing over to the other side: to the side of promise.


But the majority of the spies gave a bad report. The report they give scares the Israelites. And the Israelites want to do the impossible: go back to Egypt, to slavery.


Fear. 😨


The adults of the community were in a tight vice of fear. No way forward and no way back.


They would die in their place.


A midrash teaches that every night the adults of the Israelite community would each dig their own grave and sleep in it. Every morning a few people would not emerge from their graves. Slowly, slowly over time fewer and fewer adults emerged alive from their bedtime graves. Until one day: no one arose from their graves. This is when the Israelites, the young generation, were allowed to cross over into the promised land.


We are stuck like the fearful Israelites. Worried about the future but unable to create a positive future for their children and also unable to rewind the tape-there is no way back to Egypt.


There is no going back.

There is no going back to the before times.


It is never too late to be what you might have been.

— George Eliot


Is this our time? Is this the time for the people Israel to live in the presence of positivity and hope, vision and possibility-even in the midst of fear?


We can dig our own graves and leave the future to the young.


We can spin in our graves until we tire out or we can face our reality with courageous hearts.


The children need our courage.


The future needs our creativity.


Let us leave this world spent. Giving all of it away to create a better future.


Let the youth dig our graves and bury us when we have given the world all that we have.


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