Friday, May 28, 2010

226 - Beha'aloscha

The Torah describes Bnei Yisroel's travels in the desert which were synchronized with the cloud that rested on top of the Mishkan. When the cloud began moving, Bnei Yisroel packed their bags and followed suit, and wherever the cloud stopped, they unpacked and pitched their tents. Sometimes the cloud stayed in the same place for years on end, while other times after merely a few days, or even a single night, the cloud would once again begin its journey.

The Sforno (Bamidbar 9, 17-22) explains that by way of this description, the Torah is recounting the greatness of Bnei Yisroel. They traveled through the desert exactly as Hashem wished, despite the many hardships involved. They might have camped in a terrible place, completely devoid of any comfort, and nevertheless, they would stay put despite their intense desire to move on. Or, they might have stopped at an oasis which provided abundant food for them and their animals, and be directed to move on after a few days.

Rav Wolbe said (Shiurei Chumash) that he saw a sefer that interpreted the Sforno also with regard to the spiritual realm. Even we can sense that certain places have more spirituality, or are more conducive to spirituality, than others. Likewise, in the desert, Bnei Yisroel might have camped in a veritable spiritual oasis where avodas Hashem was easier, but were pressed to move on after a few days. Or, they might camp in an area devoid of any spirituality where they met with much difficulty in their avodas Hashem and in overcoming their yetzer hara. Nevertheless, they would remain there as long as Hashem willed despite their intense desire to move on.

Rav Wolbe adds that this is an idea that should be integrated into each of our lives. Many times, a person senses that Hashgacha has placed him in a specific location or situation. Sometimes he feels that the occasion is to his benefit. In other instances it seems that it is to his detriment since it might be extremely difficult to properly serve Hashem in that given situation. However, he must know that if Hashem has put him in a specific situation, then he must serve Hashem to the best of his ability under the circumstances. If he senses an ease in his avodah, he should take advantage of the opportunity given to him. While if he senses more difficulty in his avodah, he must exert himself to overcome his yetzer hara and accomplish as much as possible.

It is Hashem Who decides where each person ends up. We are not supposed to run away from the location where we were placed, nor can we ignore it by burying our head in the sand. If one is facing difficulties in his avodah that he feels are connected to his city of residence, it would be appropriate to seek the advice of a moreh derech. Indeed, he might possibly tell him that he remain there and face the challenges that Hashem has prepared for him.

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