Saturday, June 17, 2017

TBE Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary: Jason Busch on Shelach Lecha

I’m sure most of you remember where you were on the night of Feb. 5.  That’s because over a hundred million Americans were watching the Super Bowl.  And at halftime, about 99 ½ million thought the Patriots were going to lose.  As a big Patriots fan, I have to admit that I was one of them.
After halftime, it was as if they were a different team.  But things didn’t get better right away.  First they gave up another touchdown to fall behind 28-3.  Twenty five points down!
But slowly they began to come back.  First they got a touchdown, but they missed the extra point.  Then they drove down again, but had to settle for a field goal.  Again, it would have been easy to give up.
You know the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again?”  Well that’s what happened to the Patriots.  They scored the last 31 points of the game, including a touchdown in overtime, to win the Super Bowl.
But that expression could have been invented by Joshua.  In my haftarah, Joshua, the new leader, who had just taken over from Moses, sends two spies to scout out Jericho.  Forty years earlier, Moses had sent spies to check out the land.  That time, things didn’t turn out so well.  My portion of Shelach Lecha describes what happened.  Twelve spies were sent and, while they all thought the land was worth inhabiting, ten of them were terrified at the people who were living there.  They told the Israelites that they felt like grasshoppers in their eyes and that the people in the land looked like giants.
But this time, forty years later, the two spies who went to Jericho discovered that the inhabitants of the land were terrified of them.  
With that good news in hand, Joshua set out to conquer the city.  But the walls were huge!  (insert joke here J)
So God told Joshua to march around the city and complete one circuit, and repeat that for six days.  They did as God told them.  Then, the seventh time around, when they concluded the circuit, they blew the shofar and, as the song says, the walls came tumblin’ down. 
What’s the lesson here?  Why did they need to walk around it so many times?
I think it’s to prove this point – that nothing good in life comes easily, and when things don’t go right, keep on trying.  As Edwin Louis Cole said, “Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.”
As I become bar mitzvah this morning, that’s an important lesson that will help me as I face the challenges in life.
For my mitzvah project, I am donating food and other items for people who are less fortunate to the Kosher food pantry of the Jewish Family Service.
Now its time for the thank yous

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