Can you have too much of a good thing? Certainly, the Israelites had. After complaining about their limited diet. God sends them quails, so many that the people gather staggering quantities of birds and then eat until they are utterly nauseated. Poor Moses! He’s had enough of ‘a good thing’ too, weary of the kvetching and backsliding of the people he leads and teaches. To make matters worse, Aaron and Miriam complain about their brother’s choice of a foreign wife and the fact that God talks to him more than to them. Moses, who has recovered some of his equanimity after the episode with the quail, immediately asks God to forgive Miriam, for Moses is a patient teacher and a forgiving brother.
Then we are into Sh’lach L’cha and the episode of the spies. This time it seems to be God who has had enough, and Moses who begs Him to forgive the people. God does, but He condemns them to forty years of wandering through the wilderness and the death in the wilderness of all those who were adults when they left Egypt. There is more evil to come, but that is in the next parsha. For now, we will stick with Sh’lach L’cha.
Adam Feldman will be leading the service this Saturday, starting at 10:30. Now, there’s someone who is a patient and humble teacher, too, so come along and listen, learn and practise.