Parsha Beha’alotekha: Seeing beyond obstacles

This week, our D’var Torah is by Steven Plumb, Scoutmaster of Troop 806, Houston, in in memory of his mother Lois Utay Plumb, (Leah bat Benyamin v’ Sarah),  whose yahrzeit will be observed this coming week on 11 Sivan.

Dear Scouts:

This week’s parsha, Beha’alotekha, refers to the lighting of the Menorah in the Tabernacle.  The parsha describes the process of lighting the Menorah, the process of camping, gathering and decamping and the formation of the governing body, the Sanhedrin. It sounds like a troop with a Leadership Council heading out on a camp out and setting up their lanterns!

There is a common theme among these symbols – breaking through obstacles and moving forward on our path. The lighting of the Menorah was an honor bestowed upon Aaron so that he would serve as a beacon, an example, of how to behave to one another and to God. His behavior towards others was an example that all of us can strive to emulate.

We learn of the complaints of the people about the sameness of the manna, the food provided by God. They wanted more variety. They wanted food like they had before. The manna wasn’t good enough! They were not satisfied with their lot and rather than look ahead and move forward on their path, they chose to wallow in the present, and complain.

We learn of the creation of a leadership council, the Sanhedrin, by God in response to Moses’ request for help in leading the people.

We can learn a great deal from these messages.  In our boy-led troops, the Scouts elect a Senior Patrol Leader to lead them. But the SPL is not expected to lead alone. He appoints others to serve around him and assist him (with the approval of the Scoutmaster): Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders, a Quartermaster and an Assistant Quartermaster, a Chaplain, a Scribe and an Historian, among others. The Patrol Leaders join him on his council.  Together they lead and manage the Troop.

The SPL is expected to lead by example. He demonstrates through his actions, teaching and ideas how to be a good Scout. He is the Scout that most new Scouts look upon as an example of what they want to be. He is like Aaron, lighter of the Menorah.

A successful Troop teaches Scouts the fundamentals of leadership and self-reliance. With these skills, they can move forward on their journey through life and achieve success in their future endeavors. Just as the journey to Ha-Aretz (“the Land” meaning the Land of Israel) was going to be long and treacherous and needed many leaders, the path creating a strong troop must be broken up among many to make the journey successful, and the path to Eagle is achieved by taking small steps to the next rank, which teaches Scouts how to break a long journey or difficult path into the small, manageable steps that will enable them to succeed.

They will have the skills and be prepared to see beyond an obstacle that may appear in their path.

Shabbat Shalom!

Steven Plumb

© 2014 Nelson R. Block