Traversing Wilderness

Sharing is good

“If you want to leave your Egypt and get to your Promised Land, you have to be willing to traverse wilderness.” -Rabbi Steven Kushner

It occurred to me a few days ago that the Torah (Old Testament, Bible,…) is a broad sweeping story arc. There are four places of major consequence – the Garden of Eden (creation), Egypt (slavery and servitude), the desert (a place of discovery and transformation), and the Promised Land (a place liberated of constraint and flowing with milk and honey).

How much this is like our Agile teams and companies. We start off in a place of innocence and make a big mistake (eating the apple) that causes management to place rules around us or exile us of any other number of things. We usually end up in a place where our teams are chained to process, unable to decide what’s of highest value, and told what to do by our own Pharaoh.

At some point we break free. Now we are in a space where we are conditioned to servitude but know there’s something better out there. We don’t know what it is, where it is, what it looks like, or how long it will take to get there. All we know is that we have faith that it will be different and better.

We wander around the desert for a while, break the chains, flex our muscles, learn about ourselves, set up a working agreement (the Ten Commandments), learn about accountability, and when we are ready we end up at the river Jordan in a teamed state, ready to cross over.

By the time we crossover, we have transformed into a team dedicated to making each other awesome, ready to learn and experiment with the safety of our borders and a strong working agreement, and excited about being in a place where we can continuously flow value (it’s all about the milk and honey!).

If you want to leave your Egypt and get to your Promised Land, you have to be willing to traverse wilderness. Are you willing?


My weekly personal meditative workflow for the past year has been to find blog posts or other material about the Torah portion being read in synagogues around the world that week. When I find an interpretation that resonates and contains some good imagery, i read that Torah portion then sketchnote the ideas that connects with me . This sketchnote marks the end of my first full cycle of sketchnoting the entire Torah, from “In the beginning” to the last chapter of Deuteronomy. I am grateful to all who have publicly shared their wisdom and all who have encouraged me along the way. I have no intention of stopping as I’ve only sketched the surface of leadership and life lessons from this great and complex story.

If you’d like to see the entire collection, hold on for a bit. I’m working with a visionary group of Rabbis at to publish Visual Torah. More to come…

Read Rabbi Kusher’s complete dvar Torah here: