"I am excited and nervous," Ben said.

"Why?" Jacob asked, as they made their way to the sports field for the first game of the inter-camp soccer league.

"I had all the practice and pressure of trying to get selected to play on a team," Ben said. "Then came the selection of which team should represent our camp and, lo and behold, our team was chosen. I felt on the top of the world. I was so proud."

"I can understand that," said Jacob.

"But now," Ben said looking nervous, "I realize that I have barely started climbing the ladder. Now we have to win this game and I feel that the real challenge is only starting."

"Yes," Jacob said, "I know what you mean. You feel that all the things that you did till now are small compared to the real thing."

"It's funny," Ben said. "This week's Torah portion is called Massei which actually means 'Journeys.' The Torah speaks about all the stages in the Jewish people's journey as they left Egypt and traveled through the desert for forty years. It seems like the same kind of thing: going from one stage to another."

"It's as if the Torah is speaking to us now," Jacob said, thoughtfully.

"Spooky," Ben said. "A book that we received at Mount Sinai so many years ago somehow knows about us and about what we are doing, and is giving us a message!"

"We just need a good teacher who can decode this message and tell us what it is saying," Jacob said. "It's a bit like a spy game with coded messages."

"Well," Ben said, "my teacher taught us that, in Hebrew, the word for Egypt also means 'limitations.' When the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt they were limited in their belief that G‑d could take them out to freedom. Then when G‑d sent the Ten Plagues and they did leave, they grew in their understanding and belief in G‑d. Then each time they had some kind of challenge and, because of G‑d's help, they were successful, their belief grew. So each stage of their journey was facing a new challenge and growing a little more."

"So the Torah is telling us," Jacob said, "that I have just completed two stages. I have been selected to play for the team, and my team has been selected to play in the tournament. Now we are starting again, as we have to climb the next mountain of facing this first game. But I should feel confident. Because in the end we will win, and overcome all the challenges. Eventually we will win all the games and the whole tournament, just like the Jewish people eventually got into the Land of Israel!"

"That is one lesson," Ben said. "I think the Torah portion is telling us that we should learn from the situation we are in, and the sports game that we are playing, and we should apply it to our real championship of life, studying Torah and keeping mitzvot. We will overcome all the challenges and win all the games, till we get to the Redemption."

"Amazing," said Jacob. "I had better keep training and really try to win!"