web analytics
October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Reflection And Accountability

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Rabbi Avi Weiss
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Why does the Torah spend an entire chapter (Numbers 33) outlining all of the Israelites’ encampments in the desert?

Rashi, quoting the Midrash, says the reason is to show how much God loves the Jewish People). “It can be compared to a king whose son was ill and whom he took to a distant place to cure. As they returned, the king would recount to the lad all the experiences they went through… here we slept, here we had a cool resting place, here you had a headache.’”

Hence, these places are enumerated to teach that just as a parent cares endlessly for his or her child, so did God lovingly carry His children through the most difficult moments in our migration through the desert.

Sforno says all the places are mentioned to illustrate the Jewish nation’s love of God. In his words: “He [Moses, as per God’s instructions] wrote down…the details of their journeys because it involved leaving for a new destination without any previous notice, which was very trying.” Jeremiah recalls, as we read in the usual Haftarah for this week, God’s expression of love for the people of Israel who, despite all odds, followed Him into the wilderness (Jeremiah 2:2),

Considering that at this point in time the Jewish nation was just days away from reaching the Land of Israel, another approach comes to mind. When taking any major step in life – and certainly entering Israel constituted such a step – it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past. The listing of each stopping place was an attempt to remind the nation of these historical events. It allowed for a moment of serious individual and national reflection and accountability.

No doubt some of these places evoked memories of the Jewish people’s rebellion and even betrayal of God. Rather than avoid recalling those more difficult moments, it is preferable they be remembered with the goal of learning from those mistakes and turning them into positive learning experiences.

And, bearing in mind that Am Yisrael was assuredly overwhelmed with enthusiasm, believing that the liberation of the Land of Israel would come in an instant, it was important that we be reminded that accomplishments come in small steps, much like the Jews’ gradual travel through the desert.

Hence the Torah dwells on our journey for an entire chapter. It teaches invaluable lessons for life: The importance of self-reckoning, the importance of changing misfortune into fortune, and the importance of realizing that any improvement that is lasting comes slowly rather than precipitously.

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Reflection And Accountability”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Judaism Stories
Greenbaum-102414

Noach was the lonely man of faith living in a depraved world, full of wickedness.

Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

Shem realized that he owed his existence to his father who brought him into the world.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Law-Abiding Citizen
‘That Which Is Crooked Cannot Be Made Straight…’
(Yevamos 22a-b)

The flood was not sent to destroy, but to restore the positive potential of the world.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Why is there is no mention of dinosaurs, and other prehistoric animals, in the Torah?

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

Noach felt a tug, and then heard a rip. His jacket had been caught on the nail, and the beautiful suit had a tear.

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

Rabbi Avi Weiss

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

The Sukka: Even if you find it difficult to come to the synagogue, the synagogue will come to you.

Ba’al Shem Tov: “Hashem, too, is crying; as much as He is looking for us, we rarely look for Him.”

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

The Torah notes that even when we are dispersed God will return us to Him.

Simcha is total; sahs is God’s joy in protecting us even when we are most vulnerable.

the test of moral integrity truly presents itself when one faces difficult situations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/reflection-and-accountability/2014/07/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: