One Letter Can Make All the Difference

Sometimes we feel emotionally and spiritually blocked, struggling to recalculate the route for the journey of our lives, and searching for the path without seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. Unblocking ourselves begins with attuning our perspective to the Divine abundance that surrounds us.

Moshe Rabbenu sent twelve spies to tour the Land of Israel, a task which they failed to accomplish. They did not pay attention to the instructions of Moshe Rabbenu which emphasized one letter, Heh ha-Yediah (‘the Heh of the definite article’), which Moshe repeatedly utilized to stress the uniqueness of the land: “ha-Aretz”:

“[u’Reitem et ha-Aretz] See what kind of land it is. Are the people who dwell in it strong or weak, few or many?

[u’Mah ha-Aretz] Is the land in which they dwell good or bad? Are the towns they live in open or fortified?

[u’Mah ha-Aretz] Is the land rich or poor? Is it wooded or not?

[ve’Hitchazaktem u’Lekachtem mi’Pri ha-Aretz] And take pains to bring back some of the fruit of the land.”  (BaMidbar 13:18-20)

Their mission was to examine the land from an inner perspective, and they were supposed to understand that it was not just any land but rather “ha-Aretz” – the Land of G-d. Sadly, they were unable to tune in to the goodness of the land:

“[ha-Aretz…Eretz Ochelet Yoshveiah] The land that we traversed and scouted is a land that devours its settlers.”

Their eyes observed the evil, the scarcity, the pains, the stress, the fear. They saw a land (Eretz) but could not see “The Land” (ha-Aretz).

The resultant forty years of wandering in the desert were not only decreed as a punishment for their lack of vision, but primarily as an outcome of their inability to see the inner good. Every day of the spies’ journey and their negative perception led to a year of getting lost in the wilderness. Only Yehoshua and Caleb were able to have a deep insight into the land, and hence they emphatically said, “[Tova ha-Aretz Me’od Me’od] – The land that we traversed and scouted is an exceedingly good land.” (Ibid. 14:7)

When we have the courage to see the good, even during challenging times, we can believe that G-d will eventually lead us to our Promised Land, even if we can’t yet see the paved road to get there.

This was the conclusion of Caleb and Yehoshua: ” If G-d is pleased with us, He will bring us into that land [ve’Hevi Otanu el ha’Aretz]” (Ibid. 14:8)

We have all been through very challenging and excruciating times recently. We are all facing a future of uncertainty and insecurity – financial, social and personal. We are all looking for our Promised Land – for peace of mind, for a sense of safety and wellbeing. We all encounter fortified cities which we don’t believe we have the strength to conquer. We all face threatening giants who make us feel like tiny dwarfs.

If we can just look around us and enjoy the fruits of our land – “ha-Aretz”.

If we can just appreciate the Divine abundance that each of us has in our lives, despite the difficulties and challenges.

If we can only find the courage to see the good and show our gratitude.

If we can have faith that G-d will lead us to our Promised Land eventually.

Then we can break free from our emotional blockages, tune into the Divine abundance in our world, and embrace it.

This is the way to recalculate our route and find our Promised Land.

The “Heh ha-Yediah” should serve as a flashlight for illuminating the abundance of the good that we have, despite the challenges we face, so we can draw down more goodness and abundance. Negative energy keeps us away from abundance. Positive energy and the ability to see the good helps to attract Divine abundance.

Despite the enormous challenges we have been facing during the pandemic, it has given many of us an opportunity to pay attention to the things which truly matter in our lives – our families, our communities and even ourselves. As we begin to emerge from the crisis and go back to our routine lives, let’s not forget to keep our eyes open to the inner good in our lives. 

As Moshe Rabbenu instructed the spies: “Hitchazaktem u’Lekachtem mi’Pri ha-Aretz” – Take pains to bring back some of the fruit of the land!!

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