Friday, July 21, 2017

Mussar from Parshas Masei

These are the journeys of the Children of Israel, who went out from the land of Egypt, according to their legions…’ (Bamidbar 33:1)

 The Baal Shem Tov zt”l explains that all the forty-two journeys that Klal Yisroel traveled are analogous to a person’s life:  

 Birth -- leaving the womb -- can be likened to Yetzias Mitzraim (the Going out from Egypt), the beginning of the Jewish People’s travels through the Wilderness.  The ensuing journeys lead onward through life and to the ultimate destination, Eretz Yisroel -- or, for each individual Jew, Olam HaBah (the World to Come).  (Quoted in The Peninim Anthology).

 A person mustn’t just stay in one place and be satisfied with who they are now:  We all must continue journeying in the right direction on the road called Life, and always continue moving forward in our Service of Hashem.  May Hashem help everyone with this, Amein.


 And they journeyed from Rephidim and they encamped in the Wilderness of Sinai.  And they journeyed from the Wilderness of Sinai and they encamped in Kivros HaTaavah.’ (Bamidbar 33:15-16) 

Rephidim, we are told, is the place where the Jews ‘loosened their grip on the Torah’ -- (we were given some laws before coming to Sinai).  But, Rashi HaKadosh explains (Shemos 19:2) from Mechilta that just as our coming to the Wilderness of Sinai was with Teshuva, so too our traveling from Rephidim was with Teshuva.   

Based upon this, we may derive a lesson from the above verses:  With Teshuva, a person can go from not doing so good, to being on such a great level, as we were at Sinai.  With Teshuva, you can go from Rephidim to Sinai. 

But, the flip side is also true:  We can never grow complacent, because a person can go from a very high level -- Sinai -- and come to a level of Kivros HaTaavah, Chas V’Shalom.  We must always be careful and watch out for the Yetzer Hara’s traps… (Tal U’Matar). 

Chazak Chazak V’Nischazeik and a Gut Shabbos to all!

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