The other week, a friend of mine connected me with a student of his who was moving from the East Coast to San Diego, driving through El Paso in the evening. Yaakov was interested in learning some Torah with a rabbi during his trip, and my friend suggested he stop in El Paso for a quick Torah class.

We communicated throughout the day and soon realized that he would get here late at night, so I suggested he stop for some dinner at our home and continue on his way. Dinner was delicious, the conversation refreshing (we discussed plenty of Torah subjects), and Yaakov left with two cupcakes and some recommendations of online lectures for the rest of the drive.

It’s common for road trippers to find entertainment along the route, and I was impressed that Yaakov chose to seek out a Torah class, in addition to the online classes he was listening to, because he wanted the trip to be a Jewish experience.

In this week’s Parshah, we learn of the inauguration of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, which served as a divine dwelling space within the Israelite camp for close to forty years. The final verse describes the divine cloud that hovered over the edifice signaling G‑d’s presence: “For the cloud of G‑d was above the Tabernacle by day, and fire would be there by night, visible to the entire House of Israel, at all their journeys.”1

The Tabernacle was only erect when the Israelites were encamped. Why then does the Torah use the word “journeys” when referring to their encampments?

Because, for a Jew, the journey from Point A to Point B is as important and consequential as the points of departure and destination. At every step of the way, there are ample opportunities to serve G‑d. Whether it is joining a prayer service on the road, learning Torah with a Jew or inspiring a fellow traveler to do more goodness and kindness, there is always a chance to make a real impact.

This is the final message of the entire book of Shemot, and when we read this verse in the synagogue during Shabbat services, it is customary for the congregation to announce in unison “Chazak! Chazak! Venitchazek! (Be strong! Be strong! May we be strengthened!)”

It is an empowering message—one that demands much moral strength to apply on a constant basis, yet the reward is limitless.

Who knows? Maybe the next time you seek out a mitzvah on the road, you’ll end up with a delicious, warm dinner as a bonus.