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Parashat Beha'alotcha - 5777

Dear friends,

In this week's parasha, we find a dramatic turnaround in the Children of Israel's life in the wilderness from the high of having witnessed G-d's revelation at Mt. Sinai. They had G-d's protection as evidenced by the presence of a pillar of fire at night and a pillar of cloud during the day guiding them towards the Promised Land. They had plenty of water to drink and manna to eat - a food that they could turn into anything they craved for like fish, steak, cake, etc. But all of this is not enough.

The Torah states that the people were murmuring and 'kvetching'. Some complaints were very clear as to what they wanted - real fish, real melons and onions and garlic and cucumbers. So they started to complain to Moses. "Why did you bring us to this wilderness? Egypt was better!" There will be more complaints that will eventually lead to the death of an entire people. They will all die as a punishment, and only their children will enter the Promised Land - but not for another 39 years.

What happened here?

There is really no good answer. Could it be that, when people have everything, that's when they begin to complain? As if after working a lifetime and having everything, it is still not enough? They do not feel any fulfillment in their accomplishments. So, they begin to murmur and 'kvetch' and not appreciate what they have.

The wilderness generation could not find a purpose in their lives. Even though they seemed to have had all of their basic needs met, the complaints never stopped, and eventually escalated to a total rebellion against Moses and the liberation he brought them. The only solution was that they all died in the wilderness.

This parasha teaches to look at the positive aspects of our life and enjoy all the gifts that G-d has given us. Life is not always perfect. But life challenges us at all times.

Are we happy?

Are we self-fulfilled?

Studies have shown that happiness does not come from accumulation of wealth and possessions. The former slaves had everything - food, water, freedom, G-d's presence in their midst in the tabernacle. All this was not enough. There was boredom and they could not find any purpose in their time in the wilderness. Their murmurings and dissatisfaction ultimately escalated to the point where everything was taken away from them.

Enjoy your life. Look for the half-full glass that G-d has given you and find purpose in your life.

May all your days be filled with positive reflections and energy.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram