Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Behaaloscha - 5777
THE MEAT OF A REQUEST
Have you ever had the experience of making an order in a restaurant and after a long wait, been presented with the wrong item?
In some ways, while reading this week's Paresha, it appears that the Children of Israel had a similar situation.
After departing Mount Sinai, the nation began its journey towards the Land of Israel. Within a short time, they began to complain about the Manna and requested meat. After Moshe expressed his difficulties with the nation of Israel to Hashem, the Almighty responded by telling him to gather seventy elders who will "bear the burden of the people with you.” Offering elders to a nation that requested meat, needs some clarification.
Tradition teaches that a strong desire for an item, that is actually not needed at all, is a symptom of a greater problem. Often the unnecessary demand is an indication that the person is experiencing a psychological emptiness, and thus the article being asked for will not address or fulfill the real issue and need.
The Almighty understood very well that the meat, which the nation had requested, was not what they really needed, but rather spiritual assistance. Although actual meat was provided, the designation of the elders as spiritual guides was given to the people to address the area where they were actually in great need.
A feeling of emptiness, when dealt with properly, can become an agent to spiritual meaning and growth.