Milk and Honey


When you come to a place of spiritual fulfillment,

an inner place that finally feels like “home,”

notice what ripens inside you.

Gather it together,

and go to the inner place where you feel close to God,

where you feel that Someone will witness your words.

And say:

When an older version of me

first wandered into this narrow place

I grew in response to challenge.

But over time, the inner work became too hard.

I felt beaten down and punished.

So I cried out to you, Holy One, and

You reached out to me,

showed me the signs,

offered me your strength,

brought me to a land where inner treasures flow.

Now I wish to share the fruits of this journey.

 (Devarim/Deuteronomy 26:1-10, Parshat Ki Tavo, my interpretive translation)

In Jewish thought, the journey of the Exodus is the paradigm for all spiritual journeys.

We move from the narrow place of slavery, to wander in the wilderness, and finally reach a land flowing with milk and honey.

Some days, I feel I’m still in the narrow place. Other days, I feel I’m wandering in the wilderness – with some trust in my guides.

These last few years, I never feel as though I have reached the land of milk and honey.

And still, I am called upon to share the fruits of my journey.

So, I pause where I am, pray, and see what comes.

And I realize: as long as I can pause, I have stepped for a moment out of the narrow place.

I have completed a mini-cycle of the journey.

Though I may not be in the promised land, there is a harvest: some fruit, some milk, a little nourishment to keep on going.

Now I understand a little bit more clearly this motif in Jewish spiritual teaching: the Exodus as the paradigm of journeys within journeys within journeys.

No wonder it is so easy to revisit the Exodus every spring.

No wonder we greet the new year with a taste of honey. We don’t know the journeys that await us; our maps are only tentative. But we pray: May we pause at promised lands all along the way.

Amen v’amen.

Image: www.milkworld.info

0 Comments
  1. I love your interpretive translation of this bit of Ki Tavo. Thank you for that.

    And thank you for your wise personal commentary, too. I wish you much sweetness in the days ahead.

  2. , This really captures the essence of what the journey is like. One of my favorite mantras is actually from Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and song.
    It wasn’t until I was brought to the ultimate low on my journey that I could begin to comprehend the ultimate high and actually see for myself what the purpose of the journey had been all along. It is not that the journey ever had another purpose or another destination, it was only my having let myself believe that there could be that had kept God away. God did come to remind one day , of His Power and His Glory and it is then that the inner treasures began to flow. Now I labor on with one purpose in mind, that I may find the way to sing this song..
    In the meantime I am inspired and encouraged by the songs that you sing Rabbi Laura, thank you so much.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *