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The little puddle we dare not cross


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Here's a wise thought from Dr. Rakefet Ben-Yishai:

There is a story about a child who visited a circus and saw a large elephant tethered to a small stake. When the child asked why the elephant did not pull up the stake and run away, the circus people said: We tied him to the stake when he was small and weak and the stake was bigger and stronger than he was. In those days it was impossible for him to pull it up. Years passed, the elephant grew and got stronger but, in his eyes, pulling up the stake still seemed impossible. Even when it became clear to everyone that a little pull on the stake from the powerful elephant would set him free, his lack of awareness of his strength prevented him from trying to free himself.

In the course of describing several stages of our desert journey, the Torah portion of Chukat mentions Nahal Zered (the stream of Zered). For 38 years, our forefathers did not succeed in crossing this stream and advancing in their journey to the Land of Israel. We would have expected a stream of this kind to be more like a deep, raging, and dangerous river, yet our sages tell us that its width was merely that of a zeret (pinky finger). Amazing. The same people who crossed the Red Sea in the Exodus from Egypt were not able to cross a little puddle. Such a tiny obstacle separated them from the Promised Land.

It would seem that the problem was not in the stream but in the people. The Children of Israel disparaged the Land of Israel through the negative report of the spies and they had still not rectified this sin. As long as they did not truly want to enter the Land, even the smallest stream seemed in their eyes like a mighty river that they dared not attempt to traverse. Only after 38 years of soul-searching and self-rectification were they able to appreciate their true strength, cross the stream, and finally reach their destination.

This is not just a story about an elephant and not just a quote from our sages about a stream in the desert. It is meant to make us consider the small stake to which we are tethered and the little stream that, seemingly, we cannot cross.


ספר חדש לקוראים הצעירים ולכל המשפחה

"לגדול! 3", על תנועת החסידות ועלינו

להנחה - השתמשו בקוד קופון 3333

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