After a difficult year, everything is coming back and we are learning to appreciate everything anew. This past Shabbat, for the first time since the pandemic began, we were in the presence of many friends. The occasion was a Sheva Brachot celebration.
I never thought I would get so excited over a conversation with friends around a dinner table. I never was so enthusiastic about candies thrown at the bridegroom when he received an aliyah to the Torah.
And then suddenly at the end of the Torah reading, I received an explanation for these wonderful feelings. In one of the final verses of the Book of Exodus, where an allusion is made to the journeys of the people through the desert, Rashi comments: “The place of their encampment is also called a journey.”
Even those times when they were compelled to stay in place were parts of the journey too. Even then, the people could learn and move forward in their growth and development. Our commentators explain that during every chapter of their journey, especially during the stopovers, they gathered strength for the next chapter.
We are moving ahead following a stopover that lasted a year, but it wasn’t a year of wasted time, a void of nothingness. It was a chapter in our life’s journey, during which we learned and moved forward, even if that movement was internal and hidden.
And now we are moving again, only with increased strength.