Masei – They journeyed…

1 These are the journeys of the children of Israel when they went out of the land of Egypt, according to their tribes, [1] by Moses and Aaron. …3 They went out from Ramses… 5 The children of Israel journeyed from Ramses, camping at Succoth. They journeyed… they journeyed… they journeyed…

Numbers 33

Journeys, we all know about them. We have all been on them. We all know the value of going on them. We also know that each journey will require us to exert ourselves in different ways. Journeys are common to us all – ancient and contemporary Jews from Abraham and Sarah to all of us alive today.

5 …my father was a wandering Aramean, who went down to Egypt, resided there with few in number; there he became a great and very numerous people.

Deuteronomy 26

Sometimes the journeys end in greatness and sometimes in utter disaster. But often they are simply a matter of going from place to place with our tickets, itinerary, belongings and guidebook in hand.

The journey of an entire people was not organized rather totally unpredictable. It was a multi-dimensional journey with many sub-groups and divisions moving along the space-time continuum – out of sync and disproportionate representation of members of factions at all times. Multiple destinations have created wide gaps between the different parts of our people but then there came the next aspect of that journey – camping.

They journeyed… they journeyed… they journeyed… Numbers 33

Everyone concentrates on the trip. What about those inconvenient “stops” or “layovers”. Aren’t they just as integral to the journey as the movement through space or reaching the destination?

They journeyed… they journeyed… they journeyed… Numbers 33

These are not anonymous spots on the map or uncharted way stations in time. They are valid places to be considered and explored.

Some are as follows:

 Sinai desert
 mount Shepher. 
 wilderness of Zin and on and on…later at plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho 

They journeyed and they camped

Numbers 33

Where have you traveled and stopped for a while?

Desert? Forest? Mountaintop? Riverbed?

Nondescript or fascinating?

Did you stay longer than you had wanted?

Did you ever return to find it different than you remembered?

When do you know you are finished traveling and have come home? How does it feel to finally be there?

Shake off the dust from the road, listen past the rumble of the retreating transportation and sit quietly in your home (if you are lucky enough to have one).

9 He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

Deuteronomy 26

At this journey’s end we must try to fine the benefits and beauty of being home. Hopefully we can find the comfort of “milk and honey” served on our own plates on the table we sit at in the place we live and call home. There must be a spot and a moment or two when we are in that land. It might be fleeting, but is has to be cherished. Although elusive, we must find our way to it.

If you are always on a journey, it may pass you by

If you never seek it, you may be passed by…

Midrash Harabah and English translations by Rabbi Gail Shuster-Bouskila ©2021