And we're back!
If you have lost track (I have), we join the Jews as they wander aimlessly through the desert, on their journey to Eretz Israel (#ogzionists). One of the many miraculous occurrences that accompany their journey is the pillars of cloud that raise and lower themselves to indicate when Bnei Yisrael should stop and rest or get up and keep going. However, these clouds demand an erratic travel schedule that does not make a whole lot of sense. The Rambam suggests that when the nation arrived at barren, uninviting areas of the desert, they were forced to stay for many nights, conversely, when they arrived at beautiful stretches of land they got up the next morning to continue their travels. Rav Eliahu Dessler compares this testing travel regime to the nature of external circumstances. We often feel as if we are in our own version of a barren desert, and that just beyond is a beautiful space wherein we can focus on 'the more important things'.
This parasha teaches us that no matter the circumstance we must continue to perform good deeds and engage in worthwhile projects or exercises.
It is likely that I would have benefitted from heeding this lesson a couple of weeks ago, and then perhaps I would not have allowed myself this three-week hiatus from writing the Dvar Torot. "But, I have to do my assignments, focus on Beauty and the Beast (I was involved in a production recently), organise Tikkun Leil, camp is six weeks away!!" - these are the complaints, the barren desert, which made me forget the value of the task I committed myself to at the start of this year.
How apt that this message comes during the week of swat vac (a nasty German word for a week of independent study)* wherein we are compelled to become completely engaged in our university exams and forget our other, more worthwhile, commitments. I hope that we can remember what's important, despite the external circumstances
PS. Camp signups are open, if you or your child has not signed up yet please encourage them to do so - or if you know someone who would be perfect for Hineni do not hesitate to pass on my number (0410 273 843)
*swat vac is probably not a German word, but I allowed myself some poetic license