The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates.” — Deuteronomy 1:6-7
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Devarim which means “words,” from Deuteronomy 1:1–3:22.
When my father made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) back in 2001, many of his friends couldn’t understand why. He had a great life in America. The Fellowship, based in Chicago, was thriving and becoming known internationally. His family was doing well. Why would he leave at that particular time?
My father later explained to me that sometimes you need to leave something — a job, a relationship, a place — when things are difficult. But sometimes, he said, you leave because you know that God has something better in store for you. Years later, as I was making my own decision about moving to Israel, I remembered his words. Sometimes there is something better in store.
In the beginning of Deuteronomy, Moses recalled how after nearly a year of living near Mount Sinai, God told the Israelites that it was time to leave. However, the Israelites were reluctant to go. They had achieved great spiritual accomplishments living in the shadow of Sinai. They had received the Torah and built the Tabernacle. They were fed daily with the God-sent holy food of manna and were protected by Divine Clouds of Glory. Why leave now?
The answer is because life was not meant to be lived only on a spiritual plane. God’s plan for us is to live a life of holiness through the material world, elevating all things physical to holy purposes. This is why God sent the Israelites packing toward the land of Canaan, where all the miracles would cease, and real life would begin.
Sometimes in our own lives, we are moved to change things because the situation we are in is not comfortable. It’s easy to see that we need to leave and take steps toward a better future, even if leaving is hard. However, it is even more difficult to make a change in our lives when everything seems so comfortable.
Sometimes God speaks to our heart, and we know that we should step out in faith into a new opportunity, but we are afraid. But, just as the Israelites needed to go when it was time to leave, we must have courage and do the same. We must be willing to leave behind our comfort zone so that we can get beyond our current situation to something even better.
Where are you right now in your faith journey? Do you need to make a move toward something better?
Hebrew Word of the Day
July 22, 2020
Ninth day of Av — Hatshi’I B’Av
YAEL'S HOLY LAND REFLECTIONS
Monthly Teaching Resource
Please be patient with us! You may experience a short delay before the audio begins.