“When are we going to finally get to Tzfas?” little Shmuli asked for the hundredth time.

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

The Grossbaum family had come to Eretz Yisrael for their cousin’s wedding and were on their way from Yerushalayim to Tzfas for Shabbos.

“But Tatty,” said Naomi, “we just drove up a mountain. Look down — there is the Sea of Kineret.”

“You’re right, Naomi. We drove up the mountain from Teveriah, but there is still one more mountain to go.”

“Tatty, we keep doing that over and over again,” Shmuli whined. “Every time we reach the top, we keep having to climb even higher.”

“You don’t know how right you are!” exclaimed Mrs. Grossbaum.

“What do you mean, Mommy?” asked Naomi.

“Well, let’s think about what Shmuli just said. In this week’s parshiyos, Matos-Maasei, we read about the travels of the Jewish people. Maasei means journeys, and 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 Bnei Yisrael as they came out of the land of Mitzrayim.’

“The passuk says ‘the journeys’, but it only took one journey, the very first one — from Ra’amses to Sukkos — for the Jewish people to get out of Mitzrayim. Sukkos is already out of the boundaries of Mitzrayim. 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 Mitzrayim. Mitzrayim means a place that is narrow and pressing. In our daily life, this means the situations that our yetzer hora tries to place us in, situations are uncomfortable and pressing for our neshamah. Our yetzer tov is constantly on the alert, trying to convince and help us to get out of these situations.

“Every time we overcome our Mitzrayim, 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 Shmuli was quite right. A Jew is always climbing higher and higher on his many journeys to leave his personal Mitzrayim.

“There is another lesson that we can learn from these parshiyos. If a person is going through a hard time — even if he feels stuck in one place in his own Mitzrayim — 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 Mitzrayim.

“At every moment, a person should realize that with just one journey, he can leave his Mitzrayim. All he needs is a little effort, and he can overcome his yetzer hora.”

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 348)