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Matot Parshah Lesson

Matot Parshah Lesson

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"When are we going to finally get to go to Mount Rushmore?" Josh asked for the hundredth time.

"We have to drive up just one more mountain," his father answered patiently.

"But dad," said Naomi, "we just drove up a mountain."

"You're right, Naomi. We drove up one mountain, but there is still some more mountains to go."

"Dad, we keep doing that over and over again," Josh whined. "Every time we reach the top, we keep having to climb even higher."

"You don't know how right you are!" exclaimed Mrs. Levy.

"What do you mean, Mom?" asked Naomi.

"Well, let's think about what Josh just said. We read in the Torah about the travels of the Jewish people. The Torah tells us about the many destinations through which the Jewish people passed as they traveled in the desert. The Torah begins by stating, 'These are the journeys of the Jewish nation as they came out of the land of Egypt.'

"The verse says 'the journeys', but it only took one journey, the very first one -- from Ra'amses to Sukkot -- for the Jewish people to get out of Egypt. Sukkot is already out of the boundaries of Egypt. Then why does the Torah say 'journeys?'

"The Torah is not only telling us about the experiences of the Jewish people at that time. The Torah is teaching us about the life of a Jewish person at all times. A Jew is always on a journey away from Egypt. In Hebrew the word Egypt (Mitzrayim) means a place that is narrow and pressing. In our daily life, this means the situations that we find ourselves where we could do good or bad, situations are uncomfortable and pressing for us to the not-good. Our evil instinct in us is constantly on the alert, trying to convince and help us to take the wrong turns.

"Every time we overcome this and do what is right, it's like a climb up a mountain. We feel good about finally reaching the top, but then we remember that the Torah said 'journeys.' Once we reach a peak, we realize that even though we are now in a place that at one time seemed very high, there are new, even higher peaks that we can reach.

"So Josh was quite right. We are always climbing higher and higher on his many journeys to leave his personal 'Egypt.'

"There is another lesson that we can learn from the Torah. If a person is going through a hard time -- even if he feels stuck in one place in his own 'Egypt' -- he should not despair. After all, despite the many journeys that followed, it only took one journey for the Jewish people to get out of 'Egypt.'"

Adapted from the writings of Rebbetzin Malka Touger, who is the author of many books for both children and adults. Her children's series on the Parsha can be purchased here.
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