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Always on a journey - Matot- Masei

Thursday, 16 July, 2020 - 6:22 am

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This week, we will read a double Parasha: Matot and Masei, completing the fourth book of the Torah, Bamidbar – Numbers.

Let's discuss to the name of the second Parasha, Masei, which means “Journeys”. The Parasha starts with listing all the wandering of the Israelites in the desert, i.e, they traveled from this place and encamped in that place, they traveled from that place and encamped in a third place etc. Most of their time was spent encamping somewhere. The journey was only a means to get from one place to another. Why then is the whole Parasha called “Journeys”?

Each one of us goes through two phases in his or her life. The first is the “journey” when we grow, i.e when we put in efforts and advance. The second is that of the “encampment”, i.e when we rest and enjoy our achievements.   

Which phase is more important?

It says in the Ethics of our Fathers (Pirke Avot): “Who is wealthy? One who is happy with what he has”. We need not to search for more. If we have a car, we should not constantly be in the search of a better one.

Then, maybe the “encampment” phase is the most important one?

Rabbi Shneor Zalman, the first Rebbe and founder of the Chabad movement, explains that in certain situations, the spiritual and material matters are exact opposites. While in material matters, it is good to be satisfied with what you have, in spiritual matters, this is a big mistake. We must always advance, put in efforts to improve ourselves and the world around us.

This is the message of the name of the Parasha, Masei: Never to be satisfied with what we have, with whatever we have accomplished spiritually. We need to always be on a “journey” towards a better self and a better world.

Let’s think of an action we can take to advance and become better. One Mitzvah, some Torah study, more Tsedaka or volunteering. May these continued efforts bring Mashiach now!

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

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