Dear Friend,

Every complete lifetime is lived in three stages—childhood, adolescence and adulthood—and the Torah’s wisdom, from the practical to the esoteric, is an extended guide to how we and our children can most meaningfully navigate through each stage of life.

At its core, childhood is marked by dependence, adolescence by independence, and adulthood by interdependence.

This week we read the story of the spies—twelve elders and leaders who were dispatched to the land of Canaan and returned with a report that predicted complete failure—a conclusion that led to the rebellion of thousands. At the root of the spies’ complaint was the fact that they really didn’t want to grow up and grow the world. They wanted to continue to live entirely spiritual lives as man-children, where everything was handed to them from Above, where they would not be called on to use their effort and creative intelligence to proactively improve and perfect the world in which they lived.

The subsequent rebellion of the masses against, Moses, Aaron, the Torah’s promises, even G‑d Himself, was a model of irrational adolescent behavior, an obstinate, thoughtless rejection of that which they needed and would always need.

It’s a good reminder that a joyous, fulfilled, adult life can result only by happily embracing what we truly need in life—G‑d, the Torah, and each other—so we can interdependently raise up the world.

Yaakov Ort,
on behalf of the Editorial Team