Parshas B'Ha'alos'cha - Where To?

By Rabbi Paysach Diskind
Posted on 05/31/18

In this week’s Parsha, Behaloscha, the Torah records the manner in which our people traveled through the desert until they finally arrived at the Land of Israel. What was their itinerary and how did they decide where to go next, when to travel and when to encamp? The Torah tells us that their travels were based solely upon the Word of HaShem. Without even a days’ notice, HaShem would instruct His people that it was time to pick up and move to the next destination. They would travel without knowing where that destination would be. They did not know how long they would travel before the next encampment. The only thing they knew with certainty was that they were being led by the Word of HaShem.

When it came to the building of the Mishkan, every detail was clearly articulated before they picked up the first hammer. For that matter, all mitzvos that HaShem blessed us with, He gave with clear unambiguous instructions. Why, with regard to their travels did HaShem leave His people in the dark, why so allusive?

Using the human body as the model where every organ has its unique role, our people are the same. Every member of our people, also, has their unique role in the makeup of our nation. Each person is given unique talents, capabilities and experiences to prepare him for that role. Most of the time we do not know what that role will be. Even Moshe Rabbeinu did not know what his role would be for the first 80 years of his life. Nevertheless, he was given certain qualities and experiences to become the one to give us HaShem’s Torah.

When it comes to the performance of mitzvos there is no difference between the mitzvah given to me and the mitzvah given to my neighbor. We all share the exact same set of rules and expectations. It therefore follows that the mitzvos should be clearly articulated; there is nothing unique between my mitzvah and another person’s mitzvah. However, when it comes to the role that I am to play in the nation, every person has their unique role. No two people have the same role. The only thing that is constant with every person is that they must follow HaShem’s lead. We must go wherever He leads us.

How does one know what their role in life is meant to be?

As we travel through life we are led through endless occurrences and circumstances that guide us to make certain decisions which lead us in a given direction. As long as we make those decisions based on the Word of HaShem, He will guide us to the destination where we need to be at any given time. When the time comes for us to move on to a new destination and play a different role, we can count on Him to create the circumstances that will move us there.

The training that a person receives as a child is much more effective than the training that he receives after he matures. Once he matures his habits have already set in and do not change easily.

Perhaps the reason our itinerary was allusive was to train us in our early years of nationhood to rely upon HaShem when determining our destination.