In this week’s Parsha the Torah recounts the travels of Bnei Yisrael during their 40 year sojourn in the desert. Beginning with leaving Mitzrayim, the Torah mentions every single one of the 42 stops where Bnei Yisrael encamped. Why did Hashem deem it necessary to review each one? It is understandable that the places where major events occurred be recounted but why mention all of them?
There is a fundamental lesson here for us. Wherever Hashem led the Bnei Yisrael, wherever the Ananei Hakavod (Clouds Of Glory) travelled, there was a mission and a purpose for the Jews to accomplish in that place. These weren’t merely rest stops on a road trip, rather important places which helped build the character of Bnei Yisrael. This was evident when they came to Eilim as it states, “And they travelled from Marah and came to Eilim and there (they found) 12 springs of water and 70 date-palms and they encamped there.” The Midrash explains that the 12 spring corresponded to the 12 Shevatim, tribes and the 70 date-palms corresponded to the 70 Elders! Just as in Eilim it was apparent that that location was tailor-made for them, so too every location was “made to order.”
The Slonimer Rebbe wrote in the Nesivos Shalom that the experience of Bnei Yisrael in the desert which brought them to the level of being able to enter Eretz Yisrael, was a prototype for the life journey of each and every one of us. We all must undergo 42 travels and encampments, with each stop having a task for us to accomplish in fulfilling our mission in life so we may merit eternal reward in the World to Come. When we recognize that wherever we find ourselves and whatever we experience is orchestrated by a Master Plan created especially for us, we will be well on our way to accomplishing our own unique mission in life.
By Rabbi Sharaga Thav