Having concluded its account of the Jewish people’s conquests on the east bank of the Jordan River, the Torah reviews all the stops the people made from when they left Egypt until their final camp in the desert.
Life’s Journeys
אֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי וגו': (במדבר לג:א)
These are the journeys. . . . Numbers 33:1

The founder of Chasidism, Rabbi Yisrael Ba’al Shem Tov, taught that these 42 journeys correspond to the 42 spiritual journeys that we make throughout our lives. We begin from birth, just as the Exodus from Egypt is the Jewish people’s national birth. The final journey is to the spiritual Promised Land, the life that awaits us in the afterlife.

Although some of the intervening journeys in the Jewish people’s trek through the desert were accompanied by setbacks, all the stations on our spiritual journey through life are meant to be holy and positive. If we choose good over evil, we will indeed live through these phases of life in the way G‑d intends. If, like the Jewish people in the desert, we make some wrong choices, we will experience them as temporary setbacks. Although at every step in the journey of life, we strive to make the right choices, we should also recognize that even setbacks can be transformed into positive, growth experiences.1