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Ashley Woolfe
18 June 2020

Notes from Rabbi Rader's Lunch & Learn

Should we care what people think of us?

The fact that someone says ‘I don’t care….’ means that they do care. It is often used when someone can’t get approval from somebody that they will respond with ‘I don’t care’ what such and such thinks’.

In this weeks Sedra, the people came to Moses in a rebellious manner, only just over a year after leaving Egypt as they were unsure of the land they were going to. They suggested that they should send out spies to see what the land is like’.

Moses has been used to carrying out G-d’s instruction and it’s unusual for him to receive such a request.

He asks G-d what he should do.

G-d replies that it’s up to Moses.

Moses agrees to the request and sends out the spies, not to see how they can conquer the land, because he knows they can do this, but how best to approach that way of conquering.

He picks 12 men – 1 from each tribe to go and spy.

When they come back, the report is not that positive. The land is great, there is milk and honey flowing, but the spies do not want to go there.

‘We’ve seen the people who live there….they are fierce, big and war-like

‘We were like grasshoppers. We felt insignificant in our eyes and in theirs’

G-d became angry. ‘How do you know how you looked in their eyes?’

The spies had detracted from the sole mission which was to see what the land was like, and they had become concerned about how they appeared in other people’s eyes.

They had lacked self-esteem.

Life can bring lots of challenges.

We are all comfortable in our comfort zone, be it family, home, etc

But what about when removed from that comfort zone? We must have a belief on ourselves and in our mission.

Take for example an ambassador in a foreign country. It is crucial that the ambassador remembers why they are there and stays true to his country.

After the spies had reported back and said that they didn’t want to go to the land, it really started the rebellion against Moses. The people wanted to depose Moses and go back to Egypt (their comfort zone) even though they had been slaves and only left just over a year previous.

G-d says to Moses that he’s had enough, he will wipe out this generation and start again with Moses.

Moses prays to G-d the 13 attributes of mercy. G-d relents but says this lot are not going into the new land and can stay in the wilderness for over 38 years.

This generation will perish in the wilderness and the next generation will move in.

All of this is because the spies worried about how they appeared to others.

Be proud of who we are.

And sometimes a person needs a reminder. We can forget sometimes who we are and our identity. But the Torah gives us a way to remember with a tallit and yamulka.