Simcha's Torah Stories - Matot/Masei
Chaim, where have you been? I haven't seen you for two weeks.
My family went on vacation Avi.
That sounds great. Where did you go?
We took an auto trip down the East Coast. We started from northern Maine and drove all the way down to South Florida, stopping and seeing all of the sights along the way.
It sounds like an action-packed vacation, Chaim.
It was Avi. The whole family was together and we all have lots of good memories.
Family memories are a great thing. Years from now, you can look back on them.
I have this road map of our itinerary. It reminds me of all of the places that we visited.
"These are the journeys of Chaim's family."
Ha ha. You sound like you are quoting this week's Torah portion. It begins with the words, "These are the journeys of the Children of Israel."
I am quoting it Chaim. The Torah listed all of the encampments of the Jewish people during the forty years of wandering in the desert.
I always wondered about that, Avi. Why did the Torah take the trouble to make such a complete list? These places have already been mentioned earlier in the Torah. We all know that the Torah does not waste words.
Excellent question Chaim! The great Bible commentator by the name of Rabbeinu Bechayei answers your question. He explains that G-d wanted to strengthen the faith of the Jewish people. Therefore, He mentioned those places to remind them of the miracles that occurred during those years. The Jewish people were miraculously sustained by the manna and the water well of Miriam. The clouds of glory miraculously protected them from all dangers. Remembering and reviewing these wondrous events help them to remember and have faith in G-d, the One who cared for them.
Wow, Avi. I never realized the significance of those travels. Can I share with you something that I just thought of?
We can do this very same thing in our own lives. As we look back, we can sometimes piece together events and see G-d's hand guiding us along the way. Something may have looked very bad at the time it happened. A few years later, when we have time to look back and reflect, we see that the event was not bad at all, but a step on the way to something very good. Reviewing these acts of kindness that G-d has done for us in our lives will strengthen our own faith in Him.
Chaim, this piece of wisdom is a major stop on the road map of my life. I don't need to look back to see how important it is. You have given me the key to seeing things in perspective. Stop. Think. Put things together. See the big picture.
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