by Rabbi Carol Calise

This week we begin a new book in the Torah reading, the book of BaMidbar, Numbers. We are over half way through the yearly cycle of reading. It is the 34th parsha out of 54. I’d like to share a summary on the book as a whole and lessons we can learn from it. This book details for us the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness by the children of Israel. This was not the destiny of the nation of Israel. However, there actions and attitudes affected their destiny. They chose to embrace doubt and unbelief instead of rising up in faith. They chose to complain and murmur instead of walking in an attitude of gratitude. They chose to rebel against Adonai and his appointed leadership instead of embracing His plans for their lives. Tehillim 95.10 summarizes this book well, “For forty years I was grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.” In the New Covenant we are exhorted that these are examples given to us to avoid making the same wrong choices.

Yet, in the midst of all this Adonai still kept His covenant. There was always a remnant that He extended His promises to. It is true that the generation who came out of Egypt did not enter the Promised Land. However, their children did. Why? Because of the graciousness of Adonai. As we read in the Haftarah, Adonai is filled with lovingkindness and great mercies. He cannot forget His covenant or break it. He will always do His part. The question is what about you and me. Will we repeat history and abort the destiny of Adonai on our lives by the choices we make? Will we walk with the wrong attitudes? Will we grumble and complain? Will we live in rebellion? Will we walk in doubt and unbelief? Or will we choose to have faith in the G-d who has called us? Will we walk with a submissive heart and an attitude of gratitude no matter what is going on in our lives.

We shall reap the fruit of our choices. There were two men from the generation who left Egypt that entered the Promised Land. That was Joshua and Caleb. What set them apart? The choices they made. Their choices brought them into the Promised Land of blessing. Where are your choices taking you?

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