Anyone who thinks “Poindexter” is a long name never studied this week’s Torah portion with a Kabbalist.

A Kabbalist understands the Jews’ zigzagging 42-stop journey across the desert as an allusion to G‑d’s mystical 42-letter name, the one G‑d uses in creating the world.

This helps overturn the misconception that the Jews were “wandering” through the desert. They were no more wandering through the desert than a spelling bee champion wanders through the alphabet. Rather, each stop was another letter in a divine composition.

Their journey represents the journey through life. The Talmud likens it to a long trip taken by a father and son; together they share life’s pains and joys, its triumphs and defeats.

Likewise, the trip across the desert included triumphs and joys, but also mistakes, pain and doubt—a fairly normal range of experiences. The difference is that every up and down was intimately bound to the divine—shared with their Father in Heaven.

There’s a chassidic adage that G‑d loves each individual like a king loves his only son. When the son is dirty, the king bends down to offer the son a damp cloth. If the child refuses the cloth, the king lovingly cleans away the schmutz himself.

When the schmutz is removed, one sees that life forms a divine hieroglyphic—G‑d’s mystical plan for creation. The wise person realizes the need to pursue this hieroglyphic with an archeologist’s determination for discovery.