The following blog was written by a 13-year-old young woman who did a beautiful job of leading her family and friends in prayer, as well as teaching us a little about Torah.
Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I now have the opportunity to explore other parts of Judaism, as well. I plan on doing this with Rabbi Bravo and Makom. Makom is the Jewish community my family belongs to. Makom represents the idea that God is everywhere. It shows that you do not need to be within the four walls of a synagogue to be connected to God. I mean, look at us. I am becoming Bat Mitzvah on the beach!
In my Torah portion, Shelach Lecha, God sends 12 spies, one from each tribe, to scout out the land of Canaan. They were looking to see if the land was barren or fertile, inhabited or empty, and if there were people, would they welcome the Israelites with open arms or try to kill them.
After 40 days, the spies returned. Joshua and Caleb reported that the land was flowing with milk and honey, full of opportunity, and that there were inhabitants, but they could conquer them. The other 10 spies thought the inhabitants were large and powerful giants and they felt like mere grasshoppers in comparison. They thought they could never defeat them. The Israelites chose to believe this version and were afraid.
You might think that Shelach Lecha means to “send out” or “scout out.” Actually, Shelach Lecha literally translates as “send to you.” Meaning, God sent the spies to scout out themselves, not the land. God wanted the spies to look inside themselves and find out who they are. That was the challenge, not scouting the land. God could have just told them that it was possible to conquer the land. Instead, God made the Israelites figure it out for themselves. God was testing the Israelites and they failed. The Israelites thought they couldn't conquer the land, therefore they couldn’t. They were their own worst enemies.
There are a lot of lessons in this Torah portion that apply to everyday life. How you perceive something is how it will be. Your perspective as to whether the glass is half full or half empty can open or close doors. I see the world and my life as the glass half full. This gives me confidence to do all of the things I do. I excel in school, music, sports, and art. I don't count on people telling me what to do, I figure it out for myself. I take what I know and apply it to what I don't know.
This Torah portion also shows you that you have to learn lessons for yourself. God was testing the Israelites instead of spoon-feeding them the answers. The Israelites were not children and neither are we today. We must learn lessons for ourselves. We live in challenging times. Think about how God is testing you in your life. Are you succeeding or failing? Just like the Israelites, we need to scout things out for ourselves.