Jewish Soul Journey



                  Even when change involves something longed for
– marriage, a promotion, a new job, a new house – there is often a reluctance
to leave the old and familiar. 
The story of yetzias Mitzrayim, Kriyas Yam Suf, the
midbar and the entry into Eretz Israel are all narratives about the challenges
that accompany transformation. They teach profound and enduring lessons about
change and what it means in terms of development and growth.

During the forty year journey in the midbar, whenever the pillar of fire
stopped, the nation began a period of temporary encampment before moving
forward to the next level. Each stage of the journey, although demanding, was a
golden opportunity to reach even greater heights in faith and submission.  

       At various stages of our lives we also have our
“protective clouds” lifted from us and are then directed with a “pillar of fire”
to move from our “comfort zones” in order to meet the challenges that engage us
along the way.
Our biggest asset in development is when we overcome the
barriers and inconveniences that hinder our growth. Transcending these
impediments requires a redefining of self, therefore it is precisely when we
allow those tests to remold our consciousness from a position of complacency
and over confidence to a place (encampment) of humble acceptance that we are
most rewarded. 

            As we
progress through life, we find that some of our most difficult changes involve
shifts in attitude. A very common feeling is that hard work should be rewarded
with achievement and benefits. When lack of seeming accomplishment follows on
the heels of tremendous effort, a person can go into a paralysis of sorts.  Whether we are pursuing a new job, a shidduch
or better davening, when we have put forth much effort it is natural to feel we
are entitled to some measure of success. This is especially true because our society
around us puts such a premium on results, rather than on effort.

         So let us travel through the Yam Suf together
now, cleansing ourselves of the old ideologies in order to make room for the
Sinai experience that will follow. We were all surprised when we first learned
that the Israelites did not cross over to the opposite side of the Yam Suf, but
rather traveled in a half circle, emerging from the
Yam Suf on the
same side that they had entered in. 
Although it would seem that the Bnei Israel were going “around in
circles” and did not actually proceed on their journey, yet this proved to be
of the greatest benefit.  As a result of
this circuitous passage, the possessions of the Egyptian pursuers washed up at
their feet; with the Chazal informing us that this treasure was even far more
valuable than the wealth that the Israelites brought out of Mitzrayim. Here is
a lesson for all generations that when we follow the path of the Torah,
accepting Hashem’s  will irregardless of
the results, we become beneficiaries of  the greatest of treasure which is closeness to

   Perhaps we can also learn another valuable
insight from the fact that each of the twelve Shevatim traveled in their
specified positions both through the Yam Suf as well as during the forty years
in the Midbar. This can help to teach us never to feel envious if a sibling,
fellow student, co-worker or neighbor looks to be in a better “position” in
life, as illustrated by the following: 
In a jewelry store, the gold and diamonds are placed
behind the glass counters, while the silver ornaments are more frequently
handled because they need to be polished. The conclusion that could be mistakenly
drawn by a stranger unfamiliar with the values of precious stones and jewelry
is that the silver items that receive the “shiny” attention are more valuable.
Therefore a possible lesson that we can derive from the individual positioning
of the Shevatim is to realize that following our perfectly divinely crafted
pathways in life will lead us to the development of our own unique “golden” talents
which are truly our most cherished possessions.

             May we
all always merit to pass through our personal Yam Suf challenges with joy,
gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to experience change and the
growth that accompanies it, transforming ourselves into vessels worthy of
holding the Torah. May our inner and outer essence be as pure as refined gold,
inlaid with sincere humility.

Keli V’anveihu!

All articles appearing on this blog are copyrighted by Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to share/download/copy this information as long as it is accompanied by the copyright. Separately authored/copyrighted materia

Leave a Reply