June! Talk about time flying by. It seems like time itself is recalibrating after 2020. Being forward looking and planning for the future is as important as ever, before another year slips away!

Being forward looking is nothing new. There are quotes and sayings on the importance of being 'forward looking' by everyone from Steve Jobs, to Albert Einstein, to Martin Luther King to Napoleon. As Gordon Ramsay puts it, 'I'm not the one to sort of sit and cry over spilt milk, I'm too busy looking for the next cow'.

The general understanding of being 'forward looking' places the emphasis on looking for the 'next cow' - the next big thing to keep us busy.

In Jewish thought there is also great emphasis on being forward looking - but with a twist. Judaism tends to define the term 'future' not (only) in terms of the advancement of time, but an advancement of ourselves; an advancement and growth of mindset. Instead of asking 'where will we be in 5 years?', the question is more likely to be, 'who will we be in 5 years?'

While planning and building the future is certainly crucial, working on growing as individuals is perhaps even more so. (This is one of the reasons why Judaism places so much emphasis on respecting our elders.) It's also more grounding, as this mindset binds the present with the future together as one. Being 'present' becomes nearly synonymous with being 'forward looking' - they both stem from being at peace with, and focused on, our growth and journeys as individuals.

As time goes on, we build our own selves from being dependent on our surroundings into creators of our surroundings. If we are constantly working towards the' future', i.e. growing internally as people, than the future is in our hands right now - as the future is literally us.

In this week's Torah portion we read of ten scouts sent by Moshe to scout out the Promised Land and get the Jews excited about the great gift they were about to receive. These scouts, however, did everything they could to discourage the Jews from entering Israel. For they feared that living in the real world, with real challenges, would pose too great a challenge to the Jewish future. But living in the real world is the greatest way to enhance the true Jewish future.

Our continuous, internal growth and our own personal connection with G‑d actually flourish when navigating the real world. It helps us discover ourselves and maximize our G‑d given potential in being the best us that we can be.

Rabbi Avrohom