In recent months I keep coming back to this Torah, and I feel compelled to write about it. I am not going to write much that is original here, but it comes from the heart.

The Midrash (Tanchuma Shelach 7) tells us when the twelve spies were traversing the land of Canaan, G-d sent a plague so that the inhabitants would be busy burying their dead and hence not notice the spies (in the Talmud, G-d smites a governor or noble, to the same end ).

But the spies came back and reported this as yet another negative trait of the land. The Talmud (Sotah 35a) records:

It is a land that eats up its inhabitants. Raba expounded: The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I intended this for good but they thought it in a bad sense. I intended this for good, because wherever [the spies] came, the chief [of the inhabitants] died, so that they should be occupied [with his burial] and not inquire about them.

So many times things have occurred in my life that seem very negative, and I have moaned and complained about them. Yet it is so easy to imagine that behind the scenes, these very occurrences are the very best thing that could have happened to me.

I just can't see it, as I have on my negative glasses, my kvetchy "spyglasses".

The G-d described in the Talmudic passage would no doubt say to me, a little sharply, a little compassionately: "Hey, hey, sister, a bit of gratitude here. Everything has been organised for your own good, so stop whining and get with the plan." (Well, maybe not quite in those words...)

And the royal route into doing that is gratitude practice. Daily, hourly, every moment. Thank you Hashem for all of it.


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