web analytics
December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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
Christian Israeli Kay Wilson and Mohammed "Zionist" Zoabi.
Christian Terror Victim Protected ‘Mohammed the Zionist’ from Terrorists
Latest Judaism Stories
Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

It would have been understandable for these great warriors to become dispirited.

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

In a way that decision was the first in a series of miracles with which Hashem blessed us.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

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.

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

The dreams revealed their differences: The butler was active; the baker completely passive.

Benno Yaakov, the German Jewish commentator, posits Yaakov’s limping caused Eisav’s change of heart.

Jacob cries, overcome by the knowledge that his great love for Rachel will end in unbearable pain.

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Perhaps deep down Eliezer did hesitate. In his heart of hearts, he may not have wanted to succeed.

To be fully saved means not only to come out physically unscathed but emotionally healthy as well.

Having herself been victimized by Pharoah, Sarah should have been more sensitive to Hagar.

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: