Simcha's Torah Stories - Beha'aloscha

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Parshas Beha'aloscha


Hup two three four! Hup two three four!

About face!

Left face!

Right face!

Forward march!

Hup two three four!

Okay you guys, tomorrow we're getting up at five a.m. for a twenty mile hike with a twenty pound backpack. You're in the army now!


What did you learn about in class today, Avi?

Funny that you should ask, Chaim. Today we learned about soldiers and the army. Basic training in the army is very rough. They train the soldiers to take orders from their superiors.

Avi, our ancestors underwent their own basic training in the desert before they entered the Land of Israel. They camped in tents for forty years. They traveled from place to place, never knowing their schedule or destination. G-d guided them each step of the way. They learned to listen to His instructions. After that, observing the commandments was much easier. Try to imagine what it was like, over three thousand years ago in the desert . . .

Here we are in the desert, packing up camp again, getting ready to travel. This is a lot of work, packing up all of our belongings and placing them onto our wagons, donkeys, and camels. The anan (cloud) rose up from its place on top of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). That is our sign from G-d to break camp. We will keep traveling in the direction of the cloud until it comes to rest upon the Tabernacle again.

We have arrived after a long journey. The cloud has settled, signaling that this is our new encampment. Unpacking is a lot of work, but we will be able to rest when we are settled. This seems to be a very nice place to camp.

Look at that, the cloud has risen again after only one day! Time to pack up again. This is not easy. I was hoping that we would be staying for a longer time.

We have reached our destination. This place is actually not so nice. I hope we do not stay too long. Should we unpack everything? Perhaps we are we only going to stay for a short time.

The cloud has settled down. It has not moved for quite a long time. This traveling has taught me a lesson. G-d is guiding us. We each have our own ideas about where and when we should travel. However, we travel according to G-d's wishes.

Chaim, that's amazing. Now I understand a little better why the Jewish people had the discipline to observe the mitzvos for over three thousand years through all kinds of trials and tribulations. Discipline is something that you have to work hard to acquire. They had a great basic training course in the desert.

And don't forget, their superior officer, Chaim. The Almighty got the point across better than any drill sergeant did in history. He never even had to say, "Hup two three four!"

Simcha's Quiz

A genius came to a narrow railroad bridge and began to run across it. He had crossed 3/8 of the distance when a whistle behind him warned of an approaching train. Being a genius, he instantly evaluated his alternatives. If he were to run back to the beginning of the bridge at his speed of 10 mph, he would leave the bridge at precisely the moment the train entered it. If he kept on running to the end of the bridge, the train would reach him just as he left the bridge. At what speed was the train moving?

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