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The Journey’s Of The Sons of Israel - Masei מַסְעֵי

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

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Succoth - סֻכֹּתָה camp #1. 17

Etham camp #2. 19

Pi Hahiroth - פִּי הַחִירֹת camp #3. 20

Marah camp #4. 24

Elim camp #5. 27

Red Sea camp #6. 29

Sin camp #7. 29

Dophkah camp #8. 31

Alush camp #9. 31

Rephidim camp #10. 32

Desert of Sinai camp #11. 35

Kibroth Hattaavah camp #12. 36

Chazeroth camp #13. 37

Rithmah camp #14. 38

Rimmon Perez camp #15. 38

Livnah camp #16. 39

Rissah camp #17. 39

Kehelathah or Mak’helath camp #18. 39

Shepher camp #19. 39

Haradah camp #20. 40

Makheloth camp #21. 40

Tahath camp #22. 40

Terah camp #23. 40

Mithcah camp #24. 41

Chashmonah camp #25. 41

Moseroth camp #26. 41

Bene Jaakan camp #27. 41

Chor Haggidgad camp #28. 42

Yotvathah camp #29. 42

Avronah camp #30. 42

Ezion Geber camp #31. 42

Kadesh camp #32. 43

Hor camp #33. 43

Tzalmonah camp #34. 44

Punon camp #35. 44

Oboth camp #36. 45

Iye Abarim camp #37. 45

Divon Gad camp #38. 45

Almon Diblathaim camp #39. 45

B’hari Abarim camp #40. 46

Moab camp #41. 46

Beth Yeshimoth - camp #42. 46

Parasha Motsei 49

Musings 49

In The Nazarean Codicil 49

The Beginning and The End. 50

In the Genealogy of Mashiach. 51

In the Genealogy of Mashiach – Second look. 53

Triennial Torah Cycle. 54

In Targum Yonatan. 58

In The Psalms. 60

Rabbi Jacobson. 64

Birth Pangs 79

Silence. 82

Triplets 84

The Camp. 85

The Omer 88

Camps & Sefirot 89

Miscellaneous Ideas 90

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In this study I would like to learn about the parasha called Maseiמַסְעֵי. In the Triennial, or Septennial, torah cycle, we read this portion on the Shabbat closest to Tu B’Shevat (late winter) in the Tishri cycle, and around the second Shabbat of Nachamu, the Shabbat closest to Tu B’Ab (mid-summer), in the Nisan cycle. These two festivals are very mystical and are intimately linked, as we saw in the study titled: RAINS. In the annual Torah cycle this parasha is normally read during the three weeks between Tammuz 17 and Tisha B’Av.

 

The Journey of Israel as they prepared to leave Egypt and be born as a nation, till the time that they were ready to enter the promised land, is a forty year journey that has profound ramifications for all of the Bne Israel. These journeys are very special to HaShem:

 

Yiremiyahu (Jeremiah) 2:2 I remember the kindness of your youth, the love of your bridal days, that you followed Me into the wilderness, to a land where nothing grows.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 9:18-19 On HaShem’s instructions the Children of Israel would travel; and on HaShem’s instructions they would camp; the whole time that the cloud stayed over the Mishkan they would remain encamped. And when the cloud stayed a long time over the Mishkan, the Children of Israel would keep HaShem’s restriction and not travel.

 

In this study I would like to understand the journeys of the Bne Israel as enumerated in parashat Masei - Bamidbar (Numbers) chapter 33.

 

As we study this fantastic section, we shall see that this was not only the journey of that generation, but the journey of the last generation as well. These are the stages of our redemption! Rabbenu Bachya explains that during the final redemption many Jews will go out in the desert and pass through these places, and HaShem will sustain them and direct them as He did for the Israelites in the desert. The double mentioning of “their starting points”, in verses one and three, is an allusion to the two Exoduses, first from the Egyptian exile, and then the final exile.

 

Why did the Torah record this boring list of forty-two places[1] where the Bne Israel camped in the wilderness? The Midrash tells us one of the purposes for the recording of these journeys in the Torah:

 

Midrash Rabbah - Numbers XXIII:1 The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel: ‘During all those forty years that you spent in the wilderness I did not make it necessary for you to escape, but I cast your enemies down before you by merely being with you. Nay, more! There were numerous snakes, fiery serpents, and scorpions there’; as it says, The... wilderness, wherein were serpents, fiery serpents, and scorpions (Deut. VIII, 15) ‘yet I did not allow them to harm you.’ For this reason the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: ‘ Write down the stages by which Israel journeyed in the wilderness, in order that they shall know what miracles I wrought for them.’

 

The Midrash goes on to tell us another reason for recording these journeys in the Torah:

 

Midrash Rabbah - Numbers XXIII:3 THESE ARE THE STAGES (XXXIII, 1). It is like the case of a king whose son was ill. He took him to a certain place to cure him. On their return journey his father began to recount all the stages, saying: ‘Here we slept; here we cooled ourselves; here you had a headache.’ So the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: ‘Recount to them all the places where they provoked Me.’ Consequently it says, THESE ARE THE STAGES, etc.

 

Rashi also provides us with the reason for recording these journeys in the Torah:

 

Why were these journeys recorded? To make the Omnipresent’s benevolence known. For, although He decreed to move them about and cause them to wander in the wilderness, do not say that they wandered and were moved about from journey to journey all forty years, and had no rest--- for there are only forty-two journeys here. Subtract fourteen, all of which took place during the first year, before the decree, from their journey from Rameses until they reached Rithmah, from where the spies were dispatched, as it is said, “after, the people journeyed from Chatzeroth, etc. Send, for yourself, men, etc.,” and here it says, “they journeyed from Chatzeroth and camped at Rismah,” you learn that it was in the desert of Paran. Exclude, further, from there, eight journeys which took place after Aharon’s death, from Mount Hor to the plains of Moav, during the fortieth year, it is found that, throughout the thirty eight years, they took only twenty journeys.[2]

 

The fact that the Midrash records more than one reason for recording the journeys and Rashi tells us a third reason, suggests that there is more to these journeys than meets the eye. Further, we need to ask another similar question: What is the reason for these forty-two stops in the desert? There is a mystical concept that the purpose of these encampments was for the Children of Israel to release and gather the sparks of holiness which are trapped in the desert’s emptiness. Each of these stopping places correspond to a letter of HaShem’s forty-two letter Name[3] (The first forty-two letters of the Torah), and so by gathering the sparks from each place a little more of HaShem’s Name, His recognition in the world, is revealed.[4]

 

Three thousand years later, the Jewish People are still journeying, a hundred years here, two hundred there. On their journeys through Spain, England, China, and America, etc., the Jewish people “extract” and redeem the sparks of holiness which are trapped throughout the world. When this process is complete, Mashiach will gather all the Jewish People to the land of Israel and HaShem will be revealed to be the One True G-d. “On that day, HaShem will be One, and His Name, One“.[5]

 

The whole trip the Bne of Israel take from Mitzrayim (Egypt) to the Promised Land is understood spiritually as a metaphor for the journey that we all take from leaving the straits of the birth canal, to the many years of our life that we spend trying to do the right thing (traveling in the desert and messing up for forty years), to the moment of our own death (The Promised Land).

 

Each Jew’s life may be analyzed in terms of these forty-two journeys of Bne Israel from Egypt to Israel. In other words, it is possible to identify each person’s journey through life with the forty-two stages of the journey described in this chapter.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:1-2 “These are the journeys of Bne Israel who went forth from the land of Egypt according to their legions under the hand of Moshe and Aharon. Moshe wrote motza’aihem / their goings- forth le’masai’hem / according to their journeys . . . and these are masai’hem / their journeys le’motza’aihem / according to their goings-forth.”

 

R’ Shlomo Halberstam z”l[6] asks: What is added by “motza’aihem / their goings-forth”? The main focus of the parasha appears to be on Bne Israel’s journeys! Also, what is added by mentioning that Bne Israel went forth from Egypt? Surely we already know this! Finally, why is the order of the words reversed, first “motza’aihem / their goings-forth le’masai’hem / according to their journeys” and then “masai’hem / their journeys le’motza’aihem / according to their goings-forth”?

 

Our parasha alludes to all of the major exiles that Bne Israel were destined to undergo in their history: The initial letters of “Eleh masei Bne Israel” / “These are the journeys of Bne Israel” allude to the four exiles of the Jewish people: alef-Edom (Rome - our current exile); mem-Madai (Persia); bet-Bavel (Babylon); and yud-Yavan (Greece). But the verse also alludes to our redemption.

 

In light of all of the above, we can answer the questions we posed, says R’ Halberstam. The word “motza’aihem / their goings- forth” alludes to the future “goings-forth” of Bne Israel, i.e., our future redemptions. The placement of “masai’hem / their journeys” before “le’motza’aihem / according to their goings-forth” alludes to the fact that our constant travels in exile hasten the eventual “going-forth.” And, lest one lose faith in the redemption because of our suffering, Moshe mentioned that Bne Israel already went forth from Egypt. Surely, then, we will be redeemed again.[7]

 

And these are their journeys according to their starting places (Num.33:2) The Hebrew word for starting places or departures (motza’eihem) comes from the same root as descendants, alluding to the future redemption and the ingathering of the exiles that will occur in the Messianic era. At that time, all forty-two journeys made by the Children of Israel in the desert will be duplicated by the Jewish people as they make their way back to the Land of Israel.[8]

 

Sefat Emet, a great Chassidic master explains, that each of these forty-two places offered its unique challenges to the Jewish people. In each place, the Jewish people were afforded the opportunity to accomplish a specific tikkun, a spiritual “repair”. Furthermore, the Sefat Emet observes, the Torah juxtaposes the listing of these encampments to a reference to the Jewish people’s leaving Egypt. This was to indicate, he explains, that just as the Israelites’ leaving Egypt had eternal consequences for the Jewish people, so the challenges that the Jewish people met at their forty-two encampments also greatly impacted Jewish history. Ultimately, the Sefat Emet writes we all have various stations, good and bad, we travel through on our journeys through life. Each has its purposes and challenges that can help us ultimately achieve the tikkunim, the repairs we must accomplish on our souls.

 

Abarbanel teaches that since most of the place names here occur nowhere else in the Tanach,[9] it appears that they were given by the Israelites to commemorate specific events.

 

Rabbenu Bachya explains, that the Israelites’ existence in the desert was, for the most part, sedentary. Some twenty-two of their forty-two encampments in the wilderness were established in the first and last of the forty years and of the remaining thirty-eight years, half of them, some nineteen years, were spent in one place, Kadesh, which means “a holy one“.

 

The forty-two journeys, therefore, relate to forty-two states of leaving Mitzrayim (personal or national restrictions and confinements), before we reach the true and ultimate freedom of Jericho, the Messianic redemption.

 

These stages are not only a record of the past, but also an allusion to the future exiles and the ultimate redemption through Mashiach.

 

In the Torah’s listing of all forty-two campsites, this is the first time that we ever heard of many of these places. Just like we tell a story by citing the highlights, the various narratives we have read from the time Bne Israel left Egypt up until now has been a recounting of highlights. If no grand transcending event took place then there was no need to mention it in the first place. Why does the Torah list all the camp sites now? Assuming that there are no wasted words in Torah, and that every word has a meaning, how do we derive meaning from this list?

 

HaShem has many names. Among the shorter names that HaShem has is two lettered Hebrew name Eil (Aleph Lamed) or Adonai (yod hay vav hay). According to the Mystics, Adonai (spelled with the letters Yod Yod) is really the entire Hebrew alphabet twice. Each letter Yod embodies the entire alphabet, hence the number forty-two (two times 21). These forty-two camp sites are synonymous with Bne Israel’s forty-two stages of spiritual development, spiritual awareness and getting to know HaShem. Each location was another opportunity for Bne Israel to grow spiritually. For example, the 19th century European commentator, The Chatam Sofer explained that when Bne Israel, traveled to and camped at Kovrot Hataiva (literally “burial of desire“), they learned to confront the animalistic desires that are part of being human. By recognizing and confronting these desires, we acknowledge our human-ness and our continued striving towards holiness. When Bne Israel traveled to and camped at Chatzerot (literally “courtyards”). Bne Israel learned that this ephemeral world was merely a courtyard to Olam HaBa, the World to Come. This journey was not merely a physical journal of packing up camp and shlepping to the next truck stop. This was a spiritual journey where Bne Israel grew and learned to incorporate the spiritual into the physical world and into their collective consciousness.

 

It is no coincidence that the annual Parashat Masei coincides every year with the three weeks of mourning (for the Temple) between Tammuz 17 and Av 9, for these are the Torah portions of exile.

 

Journeys 1 through 11 were in the first year following the Exodus, journeys 32-42 in the fortieth year, meaning that there were nineteen journeys in the intervening thirty-eight years. According to the Midrash, 19 of these 38 years were spent in Kadesh, and the other 19 wandering through the desert.

 

Rabbenu Bachya tells us that “All the predictions of our prophets concerning the redemption of the future clearly indicates that this redemption will largely reflect earlier redemptions. The more we know about the redemption from Egypt, etc., the better we can picture how the redemption of the future will develop.”

 

The Baal Shem Tov teaches that the forty-two journeys in the wilderness – from Egypt to Israel – reflect the forty-two journeys or phases that each person experiences throughout life. “These are the journeys of the Israelites, who had left Egypt“ on the way to the Promised Land: All the forty-two journeys are about freeing ourselves and transcending the constraints and limitations (Mitzrayim) of our material existence which conceals the Divine, subduing and sublimating the harsh “wilderness” of selfish existence, and discovering the “Promised Land” – a life of harmony between body and soul.

 

These forty-two journeys allow us to align our lives to the compass a higher rhythm, as defined by the forty-two journeys in the Torah, and actually create a strategy that rides and taps into these rhythms.

 

Read By One Reader[10]

 

“Our sages provide a hint regarding the great things comprehended by this listing of the stopping stations by pointing out that the total of forty-two journeys counted correspond to the Explicit Name. The Torah begins with this Name - from “In the beginning...” (Genesis 1:1) to “which God created to make” (Genesis 2:3), six letters for each of the seven days of the creation, and it ends with His Name, thus linking the conclusion of the Torah to its beginning, by means of the Holy Name.”[11]

 

The fourteenth century Hakham David ben Yosef Abudraham[12] pointed out that the entire Song at the Sea,[13] the entire Ten Commandments,[14] and the listing of the forty-two camping places[15] must be read in their entirety, without being subdivided to accommodate several aliyot. The forty-two camping places were read in their entirety because it is symbolic of the Divine Name comprised of forty-two letters.

 

For this reason, the reader may not break up the reading containing this listing of the stops; he must include them all in one reading when an individual is called up to the Torah.[16]

 

Y Y Y

 

Annual Torah Cycle readings for Bamidbar chapter 33:

 

Torah:             Bamidbar 33:1 – 36:13

Haftarah:         Yerimiyahu 2:4-28; 3:4

                        [Yerimiyahu 2:4-28; 4:1-2]

 

The triennial, or septennial, Torah cycle readings for Bamidbar chapter 33:

 

Torah:            Bamidbar 33:1-56

Ashlamatah:  Yeshayahu 11:16 – 12:6; 14:1-2

Tehillim:        Tehillim 106:19-27

Nazarean Codicil: Mk 13:24-31, Lk 21:25-28 Lk 21:29-33, Rm 8:1-11, Mt. 25:1-13

 

In the triennial cycle, we read Bamidbar 33 on the Shabbat closest to Tu B’Av and on the Shabbat closest to Tu B’Shevat. This suggests a connection to these two minor festivals.

 

Consider the following:

 

25th of Adar, Adam was concieved.

Tu B’Shebat is forty days earlier.

25th of Elul, Adam was created.

Tu B’Ab is forty days earlier.

 

The above relationship suggests the the stages of Bamidbar 33 are intimately related to birth and conception. It is as though the fetus traverses these journeys and then when the baby is born, he also traverses these stages.

 

For more on this facinating subject, see:  http://www.betemunah.org/tubav.html#_Toc345272753

 

Y Y Y

 

The following table and map gives a list of the forty-two stops:

 


#

Camp

Meaning

Strong’s #

Strong’s Definition

1

Succoth - סכת

Temporary Shelters

5523

Booths

2

Etham - אתם

Contemplation

0864

With them: their plowshare

3

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

Mouth of Freedom

6367

Place where sedge grows

4

Marah - מרה

Bitterness

4785

Bitter

5

Elim - אילם

Mighty men, Trees, Rams

0362

Palms (plural of “ram”)

6

Reed Sea - סוף ים

Reed Sea

3220 / 5488

Sea of Reeds

7

Sin - סין

Desert of Clay

5512

Thorn or Clay

8

Dophkah - דפקה

Attack

1850

Knocking

9

Alush - אלוש

Wild

0442

I will knead (bread)

10

Rephidim - רפידם

Weakness

7508

Rests or Stays or Resting Places

11

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

Hatred

5514

Thorny

12

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

Graves of Craving

6914

Graves of Lust

13

Chazeroth - חצרת

Courtyard

2698

Settlement

14

Rithmah - רתמה

Smoldering

7575

Heath

15

Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

Spreading Pomegranate Tree

7428

Pomegranate of the breach

16

Livnah - לבנה

White Brick

3841

Pavement

17

Rissah - רסה

Well Stpped Up With Stones

7446

Ruin

18

Kehelathah - קהלתה

Assembly

6954

Assembly

19

Shapher - הר־שפר

Beautiful

8234

Beauty

20

Haradah - חרדה

Terror

2732

Fear

21

Makheloth - מקהלת

Assemblies

4722

Place of Assembly

22

Tahath - תחת

Bottom

8480

The Under Part

23

Terah - תרח

Ibex

8646

Delay

24

Mithcah - מתקה

Sweet Delight

4987

Sweetness

25

Chashmonah - חשמנה

Fruitfulness

2832

Fatness

26

Moseroth - מסרות

Correction

4149

Bonds

27

Bene Yaakan - יעקן בני

Wise Son

1142

Sons of Twisting

28

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

Hole of the Cleft

2735

Cavern of the Gidgad

29

Yotvathah - יטבתה

Pleasantness

3193

Pleasantness

30

Avronah - עברנה

Transitional

5684

Passage

31

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

Giant’s Backbone

6100

Backbone of a Man

32

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

Sanctuary

6946

Holy

33

Hor - הר ההר

Mountain

2023

Mountain

34

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

Shadiness

6758

Shady

35

Punon - פונן

Perplexity

6325

Darkness

36

Oboth - אבת

Necromancer

088

Waterskins

37

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

Cover In Copulation

5863

Ruins

38

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

Sorrowing Overcomers

1769

Wasting Troop

39

Almon Diblathaim –

 דבלתימה עלמן

Cake of Pressed Figs

5963

Concealing the Two Cakes

40

Abarim - הרי העברים

Regions Beyond

5682

Region Beyond

41

Moab - ערבת מואב

Mother’s Father

4124

Of His Father

42

Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית

House of The Desolaton

1020

House of The Desolation

207 words

 


The following chart shows that nearly all of the stages are mentioned twice in Bamidbar 33. The first time they are prefixed with a ב and the second time they are prefixed with a מ. In ALBaM gematria a מ substitutes for a ב. As we mentioned before, the numerical value of מב is forty-two. This gives us a second connection to the forty-two letter name of HaShem and our forty-two journeys:



 

#

Camp

To

From

Shema

1

Succoth - סכת

בסכת

מסכת

ואהבת

2

Etham - אתם

באתם

מאתם

את

3

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

על־פי החירת

מפני החירת

יהוה

4

Marah - מרה

במרה

ממרה

אלהיך

5

Elim - אילם

ובאילם

מאילם

בכל

6

Reed Sea - סוף ים

על־ים־סוף

מים־סוף

לבבך

7

Sin - מדבר־סין

במדבר־סין

ממדבר־סין

ובכל

8

Dophkah - דפקה

בדפקה

מדפקה

נפשך

9

Alush - אלוש

באלוש

מאלוש

ובכל

10

Rephidim - רפידם

ברפידם

מרפידם

מאדך

11

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

במדבר סיני

ממדבר סיני

והיו

12

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

בקברת התאוה

מקברת התאוה

הדברים

13

Chazeroth - חצרת

בחצרת

מחצרת

האלה

14

Rithmah - רתמה

ברתמה

מרתמה

אשר

15

Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

ברמן פרץ

מרמן פרץ

אנכי

16

Livnah - לבנה

בלבנה

מלבנה

יצוך

17

Rissah - רסה

ברסה

מרסה

היום

18

Kehelathah - קהלתה

בקהלתה

מקהלתה

על

19

Shapher - הר־שפר

בהר־שפר

מהר־שפר

לבבך

20

Haradah - חרדה

בחרדה

מחרדה

ושננתם

21

Makheloth - מקהלת

במקהלת

ממקהלת

לבניך

22

Tahath - תחת

בתחת

מתחת

ךדברת

23

Terah - תרח

בתרח

מתרח

בם

24

Mithcah - מתקה

במתקה

ממתקה

בשבתך

25

Chashmonah - חשמנה

בחשמנה

מחשמנה

בביתך

26

Moseroth - מסרות

במסרות

ממסרות

ובלכתך

27

Bene Yaakan - יעקן בני

בבני יעקן

מבני יעקן

בדרך

28

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

בחר הגדגד

מחר הגדגד

ובשכבך

29

Yotvathah - יטבתה

ביטבתה

מיטבתה

ובקומך

30

Avronah - עברנה

בעברנה

מעברנה

וקשרתם

31

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

בעצין גבר

מעצין גבר

לאות

32

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

במדבר־צן הוא קדש

מקדש

על

33

Hor - הר ההר

בהר ההר

מהר ההר

ידך

34

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

בצלמנה

מצלמנה

והיו

35

Punon - פונן

בפונן

מפונן

לטטפת

36

Oboth - אבת

באבת

מאבת

בין

37

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

בעיי העברים

מעיי העברים

עיניך

38

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

בדיבן גד

מדיבן גד

וכתבתם

39

Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

בעלמן דבלתימה

מעלמן דבלתימה

על

40

Abarim - הרי העברים

בהרי העברים

מהרי העברים

מזזות

41

Moab - ערבת מואב

בערבת מואב

 

ביתך

42

Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית

 

מבית הישמת

ובשעריך

 


exodus


 


 

The first fourteen journeys take the Bne Israel from Mitzrayim to the southern border of Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) where the spies are sent out.

 

Succoth - סכת

Etham - אתם

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

Marah - מרה

Elim - אילם

Reed Sea - סוף ים

Sin - סין

Dophkah - דפקה

Alush - אלוש

Rephidim - רפידם

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

Chazeroth - חצרת

Rithmah - רתמה

 

The next fourteen journeys take us away from eretz Israel. This analogous to going into exile.

 

Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

Livnah - לבנה

Rissah - רסה

Kehelathah - קהלתה

Shapher - שפר

Haradah - חרדה

Makheloth - מקהלת

Tahath - תחת

Terah - תרח

Mithcah - מתקה

Chashmonah - חשמנה

Moseroth - מסרות

Bene Jaakan - יעקן בני

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

 


In this last set of fourteen journeys we are on our final approach to Eretz IsraelGan Eden.

 

Yotvathah - יטבתה

Avronah - עברנה

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

Hor - הר

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

Punon - פונן

Oboth - אבת

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

Abarim - עברים

Moab - מואב

Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית

 



A free excerpt from the Kehot Publication Society's Chumash Bemidbar/Book of Numbers with commentary

based on the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.




 

 

From The Living Torah, by Aryeh Kaplan:

 

 


From The Living Torah, by Aryeh Kaplan:


 


Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:1-2 These are the stages in the journey of the children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites) when they came out of the Constricted Place (Egypt[17]) by divisions under the leadership of the one who was Drawn Out of Water[18] (Moshe) and the Light Bringer[19] (Aaron). At HaShem’s command the one who was Drawn Out of Water (Moshe) recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. 4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which HaShem had smitten among them: upon their gods also HaShem executed judgments. 5 And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth.

 

Ve’eleh (these) are the stages of the People of Israel when they went forth out of the land of Egypt”. The Gematria of Ve’elehthese, is forty-two, and there are forty-two stages in the journeying of Israel through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.

 

RASHI:  1 These are the journeys Why were these journeys recorded? To inform us of the kind deeds of the Omnipresent, for although He issued a decree to move them around [from place to place] and make them wander in the desert, you should not say that they were moving about and wandering from station to station for all forty years, and they had no rest, because there are only forty-two stages. Deduct fourteen of them, for they all took place in the first year, before the decree, from when they journeyed from Rameses until they arrived in Rithmah, from where the spies were sent, as it says, ―Then the people journeyed from Hazeroth [and camped in the desert of Paran](12:16); ―Send out for yourself men...(13:2), and here it says, ―They journeyed from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah, teaching us that it [Rithmah] was in the desert of Paran. Subtract a further eight stages which took place after Aaron’s death—from Mount Hor to the plains of Moab—during the fortieth year, and you will find that throughout the thirty-eight years they made only twenty journeys. I found this in the commentary of R. Moshe (Hadarshan) [the preacher] (Mid. Aggadah). R. Tanchuma expounds it in another way. It is analogous to a king whose son became sick, so he took him to a far away place to have him healed. On the way back, the father began citing all the stages of their journey, saying to him, ―This is where we sat, here we were cold, here you had a headache etc. -[Mid. Tanchuma Massei 3, Num. Rabbah 23:3]

 

Ramban’s remez comments:[20]

 

Shemot (Exodus) 15:1 THESE ARE THE JOURNEYS. After the vengeance [executed] upon Midian, concerning which the Holy One, blessed be He, told Moses, afterwards shalt thou be gathered unto thy people, and after Moses had apportioned the land of Sihon and Og [to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Menasheh] and they had built the [previously] mentioned cities, he set his mind to write down [the various stages of] the journeyings [in the desert]. His intention in so doing was to inform [future generations] of the loving kindnesses of the Holy One, blessed be He, towards them, for even though He had decreed upon them that they had to move about and wander around in the wilderness, you should not think that they were continually wandering and moving around from place to place without any rest; for throughout all this long [period of] time they only went on forty-two journeys as the Rabbi — Rashi — wrote, [citing] the words of Rabbi Moshe the Preacher.[21]

 

And the Rabbi [Moshe ben Maimon] added in the Moreh Nebuchim[22] another [explanation as to the] benefit [that we derive] from knowledge [of these stages], saying: “There was a very great necessity in mentioning the [stages of the] journeyings. For [although] the miracles and wonders that were done were [recognized as] true ones by all who saw them, in later times these events would be matters of hearsay, and those who hear about them [then] might deny them altogether. Now among the greatest miracles and wonders [related] in the Torah is Israel’s survival in the wilderness for forty years, and finding the manna every day, although these places [where they stayed] are very far from cultivated settlements, and are not natural habitat for human beings, not being a place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates, and the Torah states, Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink.[23] All these [matters] are signs of events of a miraculous nature which were seen by [the human] eye. But the Creator blessed be He, knew that these wonders will be subject to the process which occurs to [all] historical events — that those who hear them will not believe them; and they will think [about these events] that the sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness was [in a place] near the cultivated settlement, where people can live there, such as the deserts in which the Arabs live today, or [that they stayed in] places where there was plowing and harvesting, or where there were grasses and plants suitable for human consumption, and that there were wells of water in those places. Therefore in order to remove from people’s hearts all such thoughts, and to firmly establish [the truth of] all these miracles, [He recorded] as a [permanent] memorial the [stages of their] journeyings [in the wilderness], so that the future generations would see them and acknowledge the great wonders [entailed] in keeping people alive in such places for forty years.” All these are his words [i.e., the words of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon].

 

Thus the writing down [the stages of] the journeyings was a commandment of G-d, either for the reasons mentioned above or for some other reasons, [for] a purpose the secret of which has not been revealed to us. For [the expression] by the commandment of the Eternal is connected with [the beginning of that verse], And Moses wrote unlike the opinion of Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra who wrote that it is connected with according to their journeys * for Scripture has already informed us of this [fact, saying]: according to the commandment of the Eternal they remained encamped, and according to the commandment of the Eternal they journeyed.

 

Succoth - סֻכֹּתָה camp #1

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:3 The children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites[24]) set out from the treasure city - Born of Ra[25] – Son of the Sun[26] (Rameses[27]) on the fifteenth day of the first month[28] (the first day of the Feast of unleavened bread – It became the first month BECAUSE of this event.), the day after the Passover. They marched out boldly[29] in full view of all the Constricted ones (Egyptians), Who were burying all their firstborn[30], whom HaShem had struck down among them; for HaShem had brought judgment on their G-ds[31]. The children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites) left the treasure city - born of Ra (Rameses[32]) and camped at the place of shelters (Succoth camp #1). - Nisan 15, 2448. [33]

 

Since they requested permission to live in Goshen (v.4) and Pharaoh replied that they should live there (v.6), Joseph obviously complied with Pharaoh’s order. If so, the land of Rameses, which was the best of the land, was surely part of Goshen.[34]

 

Rav Samuel ben Hofni Gaon refers us to “Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail”.[35] This too proves that the children of Israel lived in Goshen.[36]

 

Ibn Ezra and Rabbenu Avraham ben HaRambam also write that Rameses was part of Goshen. In addition Ibn Ezra (v.1) points out that Rameses, the city that they built for Pharaoh,[37] where no Israelites actually lived, but which was a store city.

 

Targum Jonathan,[38] however, identifies both these cities as Pelusium, a city at the extreme northeast of the Nile Delta. According to Sefer Hazikkaron,[39] Rashi agrees with Targum Jonathan’s comment that Rameses and Raamses are identical.

 

Rameses – That is [part] of the land of Goshen.[40]

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 41:45 the priest of On – On = Ionu in ancient Egyptian, the centre of worship of the sun-god Ra. Its sacred name was Per-Ra, “House of Ra,” which was translated into Greek as Heliopolis. It is seven miles north of the present Cairo, and “Cleopatra’s Needle” which stands in Central Park came from there. Poti Per-Ra which means “given of Per-Ra,” can thus literally mean “the priest of On.” See 41:50, 46:20; Radak on Ezekiel 30:17. Also see Jeremiah 43:13.[41] 

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 47:11 Rameses region – This was in Goshen.[42] Some sources identify it with Pelusium, a city at the extreme Northeast of the Nile delta;[43].[44] Others identify it with Hero-opolis,[45] which may be Avaris, the ancient Hyksos capital,[46] identified with Typho’s City.[47] Josephus himself, however, clearly identifies Rameses with Heliopolis,[48] and this opinion is shared by Saadia Gaon.[49]

 

Shemot (Exodus) 1:11 Ra’amses – See Gen. 47:11. There, however, the area was named Rameses, while here it is Ra’amses.[50] It is identified as Pelusium commanding the entrance to Egypt.[51] Others identify it as Qantir.[52]

 

Shemot (Exodus) 12:37 Rameses – See Genesis 47:11. This is distinct from Ra’amses mentioned in 1:11.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:3 left Ra’meses

 

15th of the first month – Nisan 15. See Shemot (Exodus) 12:6. This was the 15th of Nisan 2448, or, according to Jewish tradition, March 25, 1313 b.c.e.[53]

 

Shemot (Exodus) 12:37 - From Ramses to Succoth.

 

[The distance between them] was 120 miles but they came there in a moment, as it is said: “And I carried you on eagles’ wings”.[54]

 

Shemot (Exodus) 13:20 They journeyed from Succoth.

 

On the second day, for on the first day they had come from Ramses to Succoth.

 

1. It was here that the Israelites first experienced happiness for their miraculous redemption.

 

QUESTION: Why does it repeat that they journeyed from Ramses, only mentioning the encampment in Succoth the second time?

 

ANSWER: Describing HaShem’s loving care of the Jewish people, the Torah says, “You have seen what I did to Egypt and that I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me” (Shemot 19:4). What did HaShem mean when He said “And brought you to me”?

 

According to Targum Yonatan ben Uziel, on the night of Pesach when the Jews were to eat their Pesach-offering, HaShem took them on clouds from Ramses and brought them to Mount Moriah, where the Bet HaMikdash was to be built, and there they ate their Pesach-offering. Immediately afterwards, He returned them to Egypt and the following morning they left Ramses.

 

Consequently, the Jews journeyed twice from Ramses. The first was a short trip, after which they immediately returned to Egypt, and after the second departure from Ramses, they encamped in Succoth.

 

1. It was here that the Israelites were first protected by the clouds of Glory. - Targum Yonathan

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:5. And the sons of Israel went forth from Pelusin, and encamped in Sukkoth, a place where they were protected by seven glorious clouds.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan Exodus 13:20 And they journeyed from Succoth, the place where they had been covered with the clouds of glory, and sojourned in Ethan, which is on the side of the desert.

 

According to Talmudic tradition,[55] Sukkoth was 120 or 130[56] Hebrew miles from Rameses. This is 102 or 110 miles. If it is assumed that Rameses was identical with Heliopolos, then this would set Sukkoth along the gulf of Suez or in the northern Sinai Peninsula. If Rameses is Pelusium, it could be in approximately the same area. In general, this is a three day journey.[57]

 

Josephus[58] says, …which he calls Latopolis, but had its name Succoth from the children of Israel pitching their tents there; for the word signifies tents or tabernacles.

 

Etham camp #2

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:6 They left the place of Temporary Shelters (Succoth) and camped at “From them, or Their plowshare” - Contemplation[59] (Etham[60] camp #2), on the edge of the desert.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:6. And they removed from Sukkoth, and encamped in Etham, on the side of the wilderness.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 13:20 And they journey from Succoth, and encamp in Etham at the extremity of the wilderness,

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:6 And they journey from Succoth, and encamp in Etham, which is in the extremity of the wilderness;

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:7 and they journey from Etham, and turn back on Pi-Hahiroth, which is on the front of Baal-Zephon, and they encamp before Migdol.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:8 And they journey from Pi-Hahiroth, and pass over through the midst of the sea, into the wilderness, and go a journey of three days in the wilderness of Etham, and encamp in Marah.

 

The journey took place on 16 Nissan, the second day of Passover. On the first day, they had travelled from Rameses to Succoth (Rashi).

 

Shemot (Exodus) 13:20 – Etham - See Numbers 33:6,7. In Numbers 33:8 , we see that after crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites were again in Etham. If we say that the “Red Sea” is the gulf of Suez, this would indicate that Etham was to the north-east of the gulf. The Israelites went into this area, and then turned back (see 14:1)and went along the west coast of the gulf, crossing the sea back to Etham. Some identify Etham with the Shur Desert (Ibn Ezra; se 15:22). Significantly, in ancient Egyptian, “etam” means “seashore.” Some identify Etham with the Egyptian “Chetem,” which denotes a fortress. There was a Chetem near Pelusium, just west of Lake Sirbonis.[61]

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:8 - Apparently the Etham Desert compassed both sides of the northern Red Sea.[62]

 

Pi Hahiroth - פִּי הַחִירֹת camp #3

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:7 They left “From them, or Their plowshare” - Contemplation (Etham), turned back to the Mouth of Freedom[63] - RedemptionFreedom Valley[64] (Pi Hahiroth camp #3),[65] to the east of the Lord of the North[66] (Baal Zephon) or Hidden (covered) Lord, and camped near the Tower[67] (Migdol).

 

1. The Jewish people escaped from a place the Torah refers to as “Pi Cheirot” [Shemot (Exodus) 14:2], the Mouth of (or valley of) Freedom. And to where did we escape after the spectacular annihilation of the most powerful army in the world? The “midbar” (desert) which, with a slight vowel change spells the word, “medabehr,” which means, “speaking.”

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:7 They removed from Etham, and returned unto Pumey Hiratha, which lie in front of the idol of Zephon, and encamped before Migdol. [JERUSALEM. And removing from Etham. they returned to the caravansaries of Hiratha, which are in front of the idols.]

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for Shemot (Exodus) 14:2. Speak to the sons of Israel, that they return back, and encamp before the Mouths of Hiratha, as they lie, created after the manner (likeness) of the children of men, male and female, and their eyes open to them: it is the place of Tanes, which is between Migdol and the sea, before the idol Zephon (Typhon), that is left of all the idols of Mizraim. For the Mizraee will say, More excellent is Baal Zephon than all idols, because it is left, and not smitten; and therefore will they come to worship it, and will find that you are encamped near unto it, on the border of the sea.

[JERUSALEM. And they will return and encamp before the caravansaries of Hiratha, between Migdol and the sea, before the idol of Zephon, you will encamp over against it.]

 

The Torah provides us some insights as to what transpired at this location.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 14:1-31 And HaShem spake unto Moses, saying, 2  Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. 3  For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. 4  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am HaShem. And they did so. 5  And it was told the king of Egypt[68] that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? 6  And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: 7  And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. 8  And HaShem hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. 9  But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. 10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto HaShem. 11  And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 12  Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. 13  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of HaShem, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14  HaShem shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. 15 And HaShem said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: 16  But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. 17  And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 18  And the Egyptians shall know that I am HaShem, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 19  And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 20  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. 21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and HaShem caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 23  And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch HaShem looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25  And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for HaShem fighteth for them against the Egyptians. 26  And HaShem said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. 27  And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and HaShem overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28  And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. 29  But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 30  Thus HaShem saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. 31  And Israel saw that great work which HaShem did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared HaShem, and believed HaShem, and his servant Moses.

 

The first hint of Techiyat HaMaitim[69] is found in Bereshit:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 1:9 And G-d said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And G-d called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and G-d saw that it was good.

 

Chazal, our Sages, have taught that the words, “let the dry land appear” are extra words and are not required. They are not required because it is obvious that if the water is gathered together in one place, then obviously the dry land would appear.

 

Chazal also teach that the dry land was the place for man. Without the dry land there was no possibility for man to exist. Dry land is the possibility for man to exist. Once man has a place, then it is possible for man to be. Thus the creation of man is dependent on dry land.

 

In the same way, the re-creation of man in Techiyat HaMaitim is made possible by dry land. Thus we see that the hint to Techiyat HaMaitim is found in the crossing of the Yam Suf:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 14:21 And Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea; and HaShem caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

 

Chazal also teach that the waters of creation agreed to split at the Yam Suf, in the day of creation when they were separated from the dry land. This is also a hint in creation to the splitting of the Yam Suf because of the extra words, “let the dry land appear”.

 

Techiyat HaMaitim, is seen clearly after kyriat Yam Suf, the splitting of the Reed sea. After the Benei Israel crossed the Yam Suf, they sang the song of Moshe:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 15:1 Then Moshe and the children of Israel chose to sing this song to HaShem, and spake, saying, I will sing unto HaShem, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2 HaShem is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my G-d, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s G-d, and I will exalt him. 3 HaShem is a man of war: HaShem is his name. 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, HaShem, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, HaShem, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. 8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. 10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. 11 Who is like unto thee, HaShem, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? 12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. 13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. 14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. 16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, HaShem, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. 17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, HaShem, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. 18 HaShem shall reign for ever and ever. 19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and HaShem brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Yisrael went on dry land in the midst of the sea.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 15:1 Then Moshe and the children of Israel chose to sing this song to HaShem

 

After kyriat Yam Suf, Moshe sang a song of praise and gratitude to HaShem. But in describing that event, the Torah doesn’t say, “Moses sang,” (shar) but rather, “Moses will sing” (yashir).[70]

 

The verb “to sing” is spelled as yashir, which is the way to write the verb in the future tense according to the rules of Hebrew grammar. The Rabbis found a hint to the resurrection buried in this apparently inappropriate selection of the future tense to describe a past event. Taken literally, the text says that Moses and the children of Israel will sing this song in the future.

 

Chazal, our Sages, interpret this as a prophecy; Moses and the children of Israel actually will sing this song at the time of the resurrection of the dead. Thus the song of our Parsha, a song of thanksgiving to HaShem offered by the Jewish people for having been granted the miracle of the splitting of the sea is actually the song of the resurrection; the very same song that the people experiencing the resurrection will be inspired to sing.[71]

 

‘... the redeemed ones sang’. The fact that six hundred thousand people should sing in unison a song which none of them had ever heard before is amazing. It can only be understood by explaining that they all reached a level of Ruach haKodesh (that HaShem spoke from the mouth of each one of them).

 

The word used here to mean “sing”, Yashir, is in the future tense, indicating that this song will be used again at the time of Techiyat HaMaitim, which will happen along with Mashiach’s coming. The book of Revelation tells us about this tenth song, the song of Moshe:

 

Revelation 15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of G-d. 2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of G-d. 3 And they sing the song of Moshe the servant of G-d, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord G-d Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

 

From here we can see reference in the Nazarean Codicil to the resurrection of the dead which will take place in the time of redemption. At that time, “Moshe will sing,” once again praises to HaShem.

 

Micah 7:15 According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Mitzrayim will I shew unto him marvelous things.

 

The prophet Micah tells us that the Exodus was only a preparation for (and a mild example of) the redemption through Mashiach. This leads us to a very sobering idea: In Mitzrayim, 80 percent of the Benei Israel, The Children of Israel, were not interested in leaving Mitzrayim with Moshe. Additionally, the vast majority of the Benei Yisrael chose to stay in exile in Babylon rather than return with Ezra back to Israel.

 

Marah camp #4

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:8 They left the mouth of the gorges - Freedom Valley[72] (Pi Hahiroth) and passed through the sea into the desert, and when they had traveled for three days in the Desert “from them” (Etham), they camped at the place of Bitterness (Marah camp #4).

 

1. They crossed the Red Sea on Nisan 21, 2448.[73]

 

2. The water was bitter at Marah - Shemot (Exodus) 15:23. Nisan 24, 2448[74]

 

3. The Lord made a decree and law for them, there He tested them, at Marah - Shemot (Exodus) 15:25. There is an opinion that the command to observe the Sabbath was given here.

 

Shemot (Exodus) 15:22 And Moses led Israel onward from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. {That is, Bitterness.} 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying: ‘What shall we drink?’ 25 And he cried unto HaShem; and HaShem taught him a tree, and he cast it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet. There He made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there He proved them; 26 and He said: ‘If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of HaShem thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His eyes, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon thee, which I have put upon the Egyptians; for I am HaShem that healeth thee.’

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for Shemot (Exodus) 15:22 And Mosheh made Israel go forward from the sea of Suph, and they went forth into the wilderness of Chalutsa. [JERUSALEM. The way of Chalutsa.] And they journeyed three days in the desert, empty of instruction, and found no water. And they came to Marah, but could not drink the waters of Marah because they were bitter; therefore he called the name of it Marah. And the people murmured against Mosheh, saying, What shall we drink? [JERUSALEM. And the people contended.] And he prayed before the Lord, and the Lord showed him the bitter tree of Ardiphne; and lie wrote upon it the great and glorious Name, and cast it into the midst of the waters, and the waters were rendered sweet. And there did the Word of the Lord appoint to him the ordinance of the Sabbath, and the statute of honouring father and mother, the judgments concerning wounds and bruises., and the punishments wherewith offenders are punished; and there he tried (them) with the tenth trial, and said, If you will truly hearken to the Word of the Lord your God, and do that which is right before Him, and will listen to His precepts and keep all His statutes, all those evil things that I laid upon the Mizraee I will not lay upon thee: but if thou wilt transgress against the word of the law, upon thee shall they be sent. If thou convert, I will remove them from thee; for I am the Lord thy Healer. [JERUSALEM. 25. And Mosheh prayed before the Lord, and the Word of the Lord showed him the tree of Ardiphne, and he cast it into the midst of the waters, and the waters were made sweet. There did the Word of the Lord show unto him statutes and orders of judgment, and there He tried him with trials in the tenth trial. 26. For I am the Lord who healeth thee by My Word.] And they came to Elim; and in Elim were twelve fountains of water, a fountain for each tribe; and seventy palm‑trees, corresponding with the seventy elders of Israel: and they encamped there by the waters. [JERUSALEM. And they came to Elim, where were twelve fountains of water, answering to the twelve tribes of Israel, and seventy palm‑trees, answering to the seventy elders of the sanhedrin of Israel.]

 

Shabbath 87b [In respect] of their encamping. R. Aha b. Jacob said: [In respect] of their journeying. Now, they disagree about [the precept of] the Sabbath [as communicated to them at at Marah, for it is written, [Observe the Sabbath day ... ] as the Lord my God commanded thee, whereon Rab Judah commented in Rab’s name: As he commanded thee at Marah. One Master holds: They were commanded concerning the Sabbath [in general], but not concerning tehumin[75]. Whilst the other Master holds: They were commanded concerning tehumin too.

 

Sanhedrin 56b ‘Social laws.’ Were then the children of Noah bidden to observe these? Surely it has been taught: The Israelites were given ten precepts at Marah, seven of which had already been accepted by the children of Noah, to which were added at Marah social laws, the Sabbath, and honouring one‘s parents; ‘Social laws,’ for it is written, There [sc. at Marah] he made for them a statute and an ordinance; ‘the Sabbath and honouring one‘s parents’. for it is written, As the Lord thy God commanded thee! — R. Nahman replied in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: The addition at Marah was only in respect of an assembly, witnesses, and formal admonition. If so, why say ‘to which were added social laws‘? — But Raba replied thus: The addition was only in respect of the laws of fines. But even so, should it not have been said, ‘additions were made in the social laws‘? — But R. Aha b. Jacob answered thus: The Baraitha informs us that they were commanded to set up law courts in every district and town. But were not the sons of Noah likewise commanded to do this? Surely it has been taught: Just as the Israelites were ordered to set up law courts in every district and town, so were the sons of Noah likewise enjoined to set up law courts in every district and town! — But Raba answered thus: The author of this Baraitha [which states that social laws were added at Marah] is a Tanna of the School of Manasseh, who omitted social laws and blasphemy [from the list of Noachian precepts] and substituted emasculation and the forbidden mixture [in plants, ploughing. etc.]. For a Tanna of the School of Manasseh taught: The sons of Noah were given seven precepts. viz., [prohibition of] idolatry, adultery, murder, robbery, flesh cut from a living animal, emasculation and forbidden mixtures. R. Judah said: Adam was prohibited idolatry only, for it is written, And the Lord God commanded Adam. R. Judah b. Bathyra maintained: He was forbidden blasphemy too. Some add social laws. With whom does the following statement of Rab Judah in the name of Rab agree: viz., [God said to Adam,] I am God, do not curse Me; l am God, do not exchange Me for another; I am God, let My fear be upon you? — This agrees with the last mentioned [who adds social laws to the list].

 

Horayoth 8b From the day that the Lord gave commandments, and onward throughout your generations;1 which is the commandment that was spoken at the very beginning? Surely it is that of idolatry. But did not a Master state that Israel was given ten commandments at Marah! — But the best proof is that given at first.

 

Rashi says that “at Marah the Bne Israel were given a few of the sections of the Torah, so that they be involved in them.” The term sheyit’asku, “to be involved,” implies an intellectual pursuit, and not necessarily a behavioral commitment. This follows the teaching in the Talmud that Marah is the source upon which public reading of the Torah is based:

 

Baba Kamma 82a ‘That the law be read [publicly] on Mondays and Thursdays.’ But was this ordained by Ezra? Was this not ordained even before him? For it was taught: ‘And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water, upon which those who expound verses metaphorically said: water means nothing but Torah, as it says: Ho, everyone that thirsteth come ye for water. It thus means that as they went three days without Torah they immediately became exhausted. The prophets among them thereupon rose and enacted that they should publicly read the law on Sabbath, make a break on Sunday, read again on Monday, make a break again on Tuesday and Wednesday, read again on Thursday and then make a break on Friday so that they should not be kept for three days without Torah.’

 

And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water, upon which those who expound verses metaphorically said: Water means nothing but Torah, as it says: Everyone that thirsts, come for water (Isaiah 55:1). It thus means that as they went three days without Torah they immediately became exhausted. The prophets among them thereupon rose and enacted that they should publicly read the law on Shabbat, make a break on Sunday, read again on Monday, make a break again on Tuesday and Wednesday, read again on Thursday and then make a break on Friday so that they should not be kept for three days without Torah.

 

Philo taught that: “All the people stood at a distance [at Mt. Sinai], but Moses went up to the cloud, knowing that God was there.[76] Then God said to him His judgments and His statues,[77] and He kept him with him forty days and forty nights. And there He commanded him many things and He showed him the Tree of Life from which He cut [a piece] and he received it and cast it into Marah, and the waters of Marah were made sweet.[78] And it followed them in the wilderness for forty years… And He commanded him concerning the tabernacle and the ark of the Lord and the sacrifice of whole burnt offerings and of incense.”[79]

 

So, too, do we find this same Tree of Life in the Zohar:

 

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 27a  But if he transgresses the law, they are watered from the bitterness of the tree of evil, which is the evil inclination, and all his limbs are full of bitterness; but when the members of the body are kept holy from the side of good, it may be said of them that “they came to Marah and were not able to drink waters from Marah, for they were bitter” (Ex. XV, 23). Similarly, the study of the Talmud is bitter compared with that of the esoteric wisdom, of which it is said, “And God showed him a tree” (Ibid.); this is a tree of life, and through it “the waters were sweetened”.

 

How are the events at Marah related to the Sabbath commandment? To sweeten bitters waters, one should take sweet wood NOT bitter wood and throw it into the waters. Thus the logic of Sabbath is that we should work on Sabbath, but, just the opposite is actually true. It is rest that derives the profit of Shabbat. It is the shabbat which enlivens the other six days. It is the shabbat which fixes up the other six days.

 

4. The people murmured against Moshe because of water here.[80] This is one of two such murmurings. The other was at Rephidim.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:8. And from the caravansaries of Hiratha they removed, and passed through the midst of the sea, and went upon the shore of the sea, collecting onyx stones and pearls. Afterwards they proceeded three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and encamped in Marah.

 

Midrash Rabbah - Exodus XLIII:3 When Israel came to Marah, it is said, And they came to Marah (Ex. XV, 23).[81] Moses began to criticise within himself, saying: ‘Why were these waters created? What earthly use is there in them? Would it not have been better if they had not been created? ‘ God knew, however, the thoughts of his heart, and said: ‘Thou must not think thus! Have not I created them, and is there anything in this world which serves no useful purpose? No, I will teach thee what thou shalt say: say thus: “ Do Thou make that which is bitter sweet.”‘ Whence do we know that God taught him to speak thus? Because see what is written: And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, and he cast it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet (ib. 25). Note it does not say wayyarehu (and He showed him), but ‘ wayyorehu ‘, and ‘ wayyorehu ‘ means ‘ and He taught him ‘, as it says, And he taught me (wayyoreni), and said unto me (Prov. IV, 4), and also, And He hath put in his heart that he may teach--lehoroth (Ex. XXXV, 34). Moses made a mental note of this advice of God, though he did not actually carry it out into practice at the time.[82] And for what occasion did he reserve it? When Israel came to the wilderness and God sought to destroy him, Moses said to Him: ‘ Lord of the Universe! Thou dost intend to destroy them utterly! Thou wouldst completely annihilate them from the world! Didst Thou not tell me in Marah: ‘‘Pray with the words: ‘Turn into sweetness that which is bitter’? “ Do Thou now, therefore, sweeten Israel’s bitterness and heal them.’ That is the meaning of WAYYEHAL MOSHEH.[83] R. Abin said in the name of R. Levi b. Prata: Because we had in the days of Moses one who could make sweet for us our bitterness, does it say, WAYYEHAL MOSHEH.; but in the days of Daniel we had no one to sweeten our bitterness, for it says, Yet have we not entreated (hillinu) the favour of the Lord our God (Dan. IX, 13).

 

Elim camp #5

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:9 They left the place of bitterness (Marah) and went to the Palm tree place[84] (Strength according to Hakham Shlomo Riskin) (Elim camp #5), where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there[85].

 

1.     They camped near the water[86] - Shemot (Exodus) 15:27 (On the shore of ... Targum Yonathan)

 

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 62b ‘It has been said at that hour Israel was perfected below according to her prototype above, for it is written, “and they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water and threescore and ten palm trees” (Ex. xv, 27). Now the Holy Tree [Tr. note: Tifereth.] spreads to twelve boundaries on the four quarters of the earth, and to seventy branches closely intertwined, so that what was above should have here its counterpart below.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:9. And they removed from Marah, and came to Elim; in Elim were twelve fountains of water for the twelve tribes, and seventy palm trees, answering to the seventy sages; and they encamped there by the waters. [JERUSALEM And they removed from Marah and came to Elim: in Elim were twelve fountains of water, answering to the twelve tribes of Israel, and seventy palm trees, answering to the seventy elders of the Sanhedrin of Israel; and they encamped there.]

 

Elim means strength; those who live by the laws of the Sabbath, the seven Noahide laws of morality, and the principle of parental fealty can never be overwhelmed by bitter waves of obliteration. These laws are a necessary introduction for the twelve tribes of Israel, comparable to twelve wells of life-giving water, and are a necessary condition for the seventy nations of the world, symbolized by the seventy date trees, to further their march towards redemption.

 

Ramban’s Commentary for:[87]  Shemot (Exodus) 15:27 - AND THERE WERE TWELVE SPRINGS OF WATER, AND THREE SCORE AND TEN PALM TREES. It is not such a significant matter that seventy palm trees are found in a certain place. In the lowlands, a thousand and more palm trees can be found in one location, and springs of abundant water are springing forth in valleys and hills,[88] and Scripture does not mention them at all! [Why then are these springs and palm trees singled out here?]

 

Now Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra explained that Scripture narrates that they came to a good place which was unlike Marah. In Elim, there were many springs, and the waters were sweet and good, since palm trees cannot thrive in soil where the waters are bitter. It is for this reason that Scripture says here and they encamped there, because on account of it, they stayed there for more days than in the other places they passed through. In the section of Eleh Mas’ei,[89] however, Scripture does not relate anything about Marah, and yet it states, And they journeyed from Marah, and came unto Elim; and in Elim were twelve springs of water, and three score and ten palm trees, and they encamped there,[90] and a description of a place at such length is not found there about any of the places they traversed!

 

Now Rashi wrote: “Twelve springs of water, a number corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel, were ready for them. And seventy palm trees — these corresponded to the seventy elders.” But I do not know the nature of this preparation, i.e., whether it was done for them by a miracle just for that time. I have however, seen here in the Mechilta: “Rabbi Eleazar of Modaim said: ‘On the very day that the Holy One, blessed be He, created His world, He created twelve springs corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel, and seventy palm trees corresponding to the seventy elders.’ “ Scripture thus tells that each tribe encamped beside his spring and the elders sat in their shade praising G-d for them, because He had prepared for them [such a restful place] in a land of drought. Our Rabbis have yet another explanation in the Midrash of Rabbi Nechunya ben Hakanah[91] on this verse, which is wonderful in our eyes.[92]

 

What significance there is in this story of the wells and the date trees. Furthermore, what possible benefit could 70 trees give to 6 million people?

 

There is a Mechilta which explains the significance of this story, the springs represent the 12 tribes of Israel and the trees represent the 70 elders of Israel. What is the point of this mechilta, though? Is it simply coming to teach us that Israel has 12 tribes and 70 elders!? That is self evident! Rather, it must be teaching us something more.

 

In truth, there is a great lesson to be learned. When the twelve tribes left Egypt, they left as distinct units. Every tribe had its own place and its own flag. The Ari HaKadosh tells us that each tribe even had its own window in the sky for its prayers to pass through.

 

The potential surely existed for each tribe to separate from the others and declare itself a distinct and separate unit - this would cause the Torah, heaven forbid, to become 12 different Torot, and the nation to be split into 12 different nations! By the same token, the seventy elders were all men of stature and great wisdom, each with his own students and school. Each one also had his own distinct style of learning. The potential surely existed for each elder to declare that only he possessed the truth and the true interpretations of the Torah. This could have, heaven forbid, turn the Torah into seventy Torot. However, all of this did not happen, and it is symbolized by the wells and the palm trees.

 

There was significance of Bne Israel arriving at Elim. In Hebrew, the letters of this place stand for "Our father Jacob has not died."

 

One should know that to all of the tribes their was one father! His sprit was in all of them and served to connect them as a nation. All of the tribes declared to Jacob at the end of his life: "Hear, Israel, HaShem is our G-d, HaShem is one" It is true that each tribe is its own well, but it can not separate from the other wells. In Elim, all 12 springs were in the same place to show that the entire nation could partake of them! The date trees also were a symbol of unity. The roots of a date tree, our rabbis tell us, do not spread out, they are unified.

 

This symbolizes the unanimity of our sages when it comes to issues of Torah - even though there is the potential for disparity.

 

Red Sea camp #6

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:10 They left the Palm Tree place (Elim) and camped by the Yam Suf The Reed Sea (Red Sea[93] camp #6).

 

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 50a For “Suph” suggests “soph”, an end, namely the end of the grades of the supernal powers.’

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:10. And they removed from Elim, and camped on the banks of the Sea of Suph;

 

Sin camp #7

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:11 They left the Reed Sea and camped in the Desert of clay (Sin camp #7).

 

1. They arrived on the 15th day of the second month - Iyar (second Passover) – Shemot (Exodus) 16:1

 

2. They grumbled about the lack of meat - Shemot (Exodus) 16:3

 

3. HaShem brought them quail in the evening - Shemot (Exodus) 16:13

 

4. HaShem brought them bread from heaven in the morning – Shemot (Exodus) 16:13-14

 

5. The Israelites first observed the Sabbath here.[94] Shemot (Exodus) 16:27

 

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis XLVIII:12 AND ABRAHAM HASTENED INTO THE TENT UNTO SARAH, AND SAID: MAKE READY QUICKLY THREE MEASURES OF FINE MEAL (XVIII, 6). R. Abiathar said: She baked nine measures in all, three of cakes, three of habiz, and three of pastries. KNEAD IT, AND MAKE CAKES (UGOTH).[95] It was the season of Passover. Jonah and R. Levi in the name of R. Hama b. R. Hanina said: The wilderness of Sin and the wilderness of Alush are one and the same. [The change of name to Alush teaches this]: On account of whose merit were Israel privileged to have the manna given to them? On account of [the merit of Abraham who said]: LUSHI (KNEAD IT), AND MAKE CAKES.[96]

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:11. and they removed from the banks of the sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin;

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for: Shemot (Exodus) 16:1 And the whole congregation of Israel journeyed from Elim, and came to the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the month of Iyar, the second month from their going forth from the land of Mizraim. 2. And on that day the bread which they had brought out of Mizraim was finished. And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Mosheh and against Aharon in the desert. 3. And the sons of Israel said to them, Would that we had died by the Word of the LORD in the land of Mizraim, when we sat by the cisterns of meat, and ate bread and had enough! Why have you brought us out into this wilderness to kill all this congregation with hunger? 4. ¶ And the LORD said to Mosheh, Behold, I will cause the bread which has been laid up for you from the beginning to descend from heaven: and the people will go out and gather the matter of a day by the day, that I may try them whether they will keep the commandments of My Law or not. 5. And on the sixth day they will prepare what they set before them to eat on the day of the Sabbath; and they will mix in the houses and communicate in their dwellings, so that by carrying this to that, they may have double of that which they gather from day to day.

 

Ramban’s Commentary for:[97]  Shemot (Exodus)  16:1 AND THEY TOOK THEIR JOURNEY FROM ELIM, AND ALL THE CONGREGATION OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL CAME UNTO THE WILDERNESS OF SIN. Scripture speaks briefly here, for when they journeyed from Elim, they pitched by the Red Sea, and they journeyed from the Red Sea, and they pitched in the wilderness of Sin,[98] since this great wilderness extended from Elim to Sinai. Thus, when they travelled from Elim, they camped beside the Red Sea in that wilderness. Then they journeyed from the edge of the sea and entered into the midst of the wilderness, making the stages of Dophkah and Alush[99] and then they journeyed from Alush, which is in the wilderness of Sinai, and they pitched in Rephidim.[100]

 

In the opinion of our Rabbis,[101] the manna began falling in Alush. When the Israelites saw that they were journeying and camping in the wilderness — in Dophkah and Alush — and had not come out of it, they became frightened and began murmuring. This is the meaning of the verse, And they murmured... in the wilderness,[102] for they had not murmured when they came there but only after they were there in the wilderness [for an extended period of time].

 

THE WILDERNESS OF SIN WHICH IS BETWEEN ELIM AND SINAI. The reason for this [geographic   description] is to distinguish between this wilderness of Sin and the other wilderness, Tzin, written with the letter tzade, where the Israelites came in the fortieth year [of their stay in the wilderness] and Miriam died there.[103] This is why Scripture mentions there, And they pitched in the wilderness of Tzinthe same is Kadesh,[104] in order to differentiate it [from the wilderness of Sin mentioned here].

 

Chasam Sofer offers the following reason to explain why Lag BaOmer is a day of celebration. The Torah states: "They [Israel] journeyed from Elim, and the entire assembly of the Children of Israel arrived at the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month from their departure from the land of Egypt."[105] The "second month" is lyar, which immediately follows Nissan, which the Torah designates as the first month.[106] The next day, the sixteenth of lyar, the people complained to Moses, Aaron and the elders, "If only we would have died by the hand of Hashem in the land of Egypt, as we sat by the pot of meat, when we ate bread to satiety...".[107] On the following day, the seventeenth of lyar, God told Moses that manna would begin to fall from heaven on the next day, the eighteenth of lyar, the date of Lag BaOmer.[108]

 

Dophkah camp #8

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:12 They left the Desert of clay (Sin) and camped at the Attack[109] place (Dophkah camp #8).

 

Dophkah is the place where their “hearts beat” (in fear) for lack of bread.[110]

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:12. thence to Dopheka, Kerak Takiph (the strong tower),

 

Alush camp #9

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:13 They left the knocking place (Dophkah) and camped at the Powerful City[111] - wild place[112] - (Alush[113] camp #9).

 

Midrash Rabbah – Bereshit (Genesis) XLVIII:12 The wilderness of Sin and the wilderness of Alush[114] are one and the same. [The change of name to Alush teaches this]: On account of whose merit were Israel privileged to have the manna given to them? On account of [the merit of Abraham who said]: LUSHI (KNEAD IT), AND MAKE CAKES.[115]

 

The Jerusalem Targum on Bereshit 25:18 and on Shemot 15:22 translate Shur and the desert of Shur by Alush.

 

Seder Olam 5[116] says, “From Elim they travelled to Alush as it is said (Exodus 16:1): “They travelled from Elim and the entire congregation of the Bne Israel arrived at the wilderness of Sin” (that is Alush) “on the 15th day of the second month after the Exodus”, which was on a Sabbath.

 

The Talmud notes that it was built by Sheshai, one of the giants of Hebron (Bamidbar 13:22; Yoma 10a):

 

Yoma 10a And Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai the children of Anak, were there. A Tanna taught: ‘Ahiman’, i.e., the most skilful of the brethren; ‘Sheshai’, ie, he made the ground [he stepped on] like pits; ‘Talmai’, i.e.,he made the ground full of ridges. Another comment: Ahiman built Anath, Sheshai built Alush; Talmai built Talbush. [They were called] ‘the children of Anak’, because they lorded it over the sun by reason of their height.

 

They arrived on Iyar 15, 2448 (Pesach Sheni).[117]

 

Rephidim camp #10

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:14 They left the powerful city - wild place (Alush[118]) and camped at the railing or Weakness place (lax in Torah study) (Rephidim camp #10), where there was no water for the people to drink[119].

 

  1. There was no water to drink - Shemot (Exodus) 17:1

 

  1. Moshe strikes the rock at Horeb and water came out - Shemot (Exodus) 17:6

 

  1. “Why was it called Shittim?” He said, “Shittim was its actual name.” Rebi Yehoshua said, “[It was called this] because they were involved in something senseless (shtus).”[120]

 

  1. This place was called Massah and Meribah because the people quarreled and tested HaShem - Shemot (Exodus) 17:7, Devarim (Deuteronomy) 33:8, Tehillim (Psalms) 81:8, Tehillim (Psalms) 95:8, Tehillim (Psalms) 106:32.

 

  1. The Amalekites attacked the Israelites here - Shemot (Exodus) 17:8. One interesting point as to why Amalek without provocation attacks the nation of Israel in their way to freedom is that given by the name where this incident took place - “Refidim.” The name “Refidim” indicates that the Israelites had become lax “RAFAH” in their faith (they became weak (reefu) in Torah.” - Bechorot 5b). As a result of this shortcoming Amalek was able to attack. The Israelites were RAFAH (Lax) in the Torah. That is, they did not ask for Torah just as they asked for bread and water. Since the entire point of the Exodus was that they would receive the Torah, their first complaint should have been, “Why is it taking so long before HaShem gives us His Torah?” But we see that no such complaint was ever made.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan Shemot (Exodus) 17:8 And Amalek came from the land of the south and leaped on that night a thousand and six hundred miles; and on account of the disagreement which had been between Esau and Jakob, he came and waged war with Israel in Rephidim, and took and killed (some of the) men of the house of Dan; for the cloud did not embrace them, because of the strange worship that was among them.

 

6. Joshua is to remember the Amalekite attack – Shemot (Exodus) 17:14

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan Shemot (Exodus) 17:9-14 And Mosheh said to Jehoshua, Choose such men as are strong in the precepts, and victorious in fight; and go, under the Cloud of glory, and set battle in array against the hosts of Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand, prepared with fasting, with the righteous fathers of the chiefs of the people, and the righteous mothers who are like the hills, with the rod with which the miracles have been wrought from before the Lord, in my hand. 10. And Jehoshua did as Mosheh had bidden him, to wage war with Amalek. And Mosheh, and Aharon, and Hur went up to the top of the height. 11. And it was, when Mosheh lifted up his hands in prayer, that the house of Israel prevailed; and when he rested his hand from praying, that the house of Amalek prevailed. [Jerusalem. And it was that when Mosheh lifted up his hands in prayer, the house of Israel prevailed; and when his hands declined from prayer, Amalek prevailed; and (Israel) fell. in the line of battle.] 12. And the hands of Mosheh were heavy, because the conflict was prolonged till the morrow, and the deliverance of Israel was not prepared on that day; and he could not hold them up in prayer; on which account he would have afflicted his soul. And they took a stone, and placed it under him, and he sat upon it; and Aharon and Hur supported his hand, this the one, and that the other; and his hands were outstretched with firmness, (or, fidelity,) in prayer and fasting, until the going down of the sun. [Jerusalem. And the hands of Mosheh were lifted up in prayer.] 13. And Jehoshua shattered Amalek, and cut off the heads, of the strong men of his people, by the mouth of the Word of the Lord, with the slaughter of the sword. 14. And the Lord said unto Mosheh, Write this memorial in the book of the elders that were of old, and these words in the hearing, of Jehoshua, that blotting, I will blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens.

 

Rashi on Shemot 17:9 Pick for us men who know how to counteract witchcraft, because the Amalekites were sorcerers.

 

Rashi on Shemot 17:12 until sunset For the Amalekites calculated the hours [i.e., the time] with their astrology [to determine] in what hour they would be victorious, but Moses caused the sun to stand still and confused the hours.-[from Tanchuma 28]

 

RASHI: on Shemot 17:16 For there is a hand on the throne of the Eternal Heb. כּיִ-יָד עַל-כֵּס יָהּ . The hand of the Holy One, blessed be He, was raised to swear by His throne, to have a war and [bear] hatred against Amalek for eternity. Now what is the meaning of כּסֵ [as opposed toִֵ אכּס and also [why is] the Divine Name divided in half? [I.e., why is the Name יהָּ used instead of יהְ והָ ?] [The answer is that] the Holy One, blessed be He, swore that His Name will not be complete and His throne will not be complete until the name of Amalek is completely obliterated. And when his name is obliterated, the Divine Name will be complete, and the throne will be complete, as it is said: “The enemy has been destroyed; swords exist forever ( נצחֶַל )” (Ps. 9:7); this [who they are referring to] is Amalek, about whom it is written: “and kept their fury forever (נצחֶַ)” (Amos 1:11).”And You have uprooted the cities-their remembrance is lost” (Ps. 9:7) [i.e., Amalek‘s obliteration]. What does it say afterwards? “And the Lord ( ויַהוהָ ) shall sit forever” (Ps. 9:8); thus [after Amalek is obliterated] the Name is complete. “He has established His throne (וֹ כּסִאְ) for judgment” (Ps. 9:8). Thus the throne is complete [i.e., thus the throne, here spelled with an “aleph,” is now complete].-[from Midrash Tanchuma, end of Ki Theitzei]

 

Rashi on Shemot 19:2 They journeyed from Rephidim Why did [Scripture] have to repeat and explain from where they had journeyed? Did it not already state (Exodus 17:1) that they were encamped in Rephidim? It is known that they journeyed from there. But [it is repeated] to compare their journey from Rephidim to their arrival in the Sinai desert. Just as their arrival in the Sinai desert was with repentance, so was their journey from Rephidim with repentance.-[from Mechilta]

 

Rashi on Shemot 19:2 They (written: he) camped opposite the mountain - k’ish echad, b’leiv echad — like a single person with a single heart.

 

7. Moshe built an altar and called it “ HaShem is my banner: - Shemot (Exodus) 17:15

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan Shemot (Exodus) 17:15 And Mosheh built an altar, and called the name of it, The Word of the Lord is my banner; for the sign which He has wrought (in this) place was on my behalf. 16. And he said, Because the Word of the Lord hath sworn by the throne of His glory, that He by His Word will fight against those of the house of Amalek, and destroy them unto three generations; from the generation of this world, from the generation of the Mashiach, and from the generation of the world to come. [JERUSALEM. And he said, The oath has come forth from beneath the throne of the Great One, of all the world the Lord; the first king who will sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the sons of Israel, Shaul, the son of Kish, will set the battle in array against the house of Amalek, and will slay them; and those of them that remain will Mordekai and Esther destroy. The Lord has said by His Word that the memory of Amalek will perish to the age of ages.]

 

8. They arrived Iyar 23, 2448.[121]

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:14. Rephidim, where, because their hands were (raphin) neglectful of the words of the law, there was no water for the people to drink;

 

Ramban’s comments:[122]

 

Shemot (Exodus) 17:1 [14.]AND THEY PITCHED IN REPHIDIM, AND THERE WAS NO WATER FOR THE PEOPLE TO DRINK. Scripture [here] does not mention the miracle [that occurred] with the water in Marah,[123] nor the [daily] wonder of manna [which took place] in the wilderness of Sin.[124] But [it mentioned the giving of water at Rephidim] because this episode at Rephidim was an important event, since they tried G-d [there], and that place was therefore called Massah (Trying) and Meribah (Strife),[125] wherein He was sanctified in their presence by bringing forth water for them out of the rock,[126] and it was there that they were attacked by the Amalekites.[127] Therefore He [only] described it here in brief, [saying], and there was no water for the people to drink, since it was the place which was recognized and known by this [fact].

 

Shemot (Exodus) 17:1 AND ALL THE CONGREGATION OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL JOURNEYED FROM THE WILDERNESS OF SIN, BY THEIR STAGES, ACCORDING TO THE COMMANDMENT OF THE ETERNAL, AND THEY ENCAMPED IN REPHIDIM. Scripture is stating that they journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, where they were encamped after they had set out from Elim,[128] and covered various stages of their journey in accord with G-d’s command. Afterwards, they encamped in Rephidim. Scripture thus relates briefly here that when they first journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, they pitched in Dophkah, and afterwards in Alush, and from Alush they came to Rephidim.[129] This is the meaning of the expression here, by their stages, since there were many stages by which they came from the wilderness of Sin to Rephidim, and they did not reach it on the first journey. Scripture, however, [omits all these various stages here] because its only concern is to explain their murmuring. At the beginning of their arrival in that wilderness [of Sin], they complained for bread, and now they quarreled [with Moses] over water, [as it is said], and there was no water for the people to drink. When they came to that place and did not find fountains of water, they at once quarreled with Moses. This is the meaning of the expression, Wherefore the people did quarrel with Moses,[130] for the murmurings mentioned in places where Scripture says, and they murmured,[131] mean complaints, i.e., that they were declaring their grievances about their condition, saying, “What shall we do? What shall we eat, and what shall we drink?” But vayarev (and he quarreled) means that they did actually make quarrel with Moses, coming to him and saying, “Give us water, you and Aaron your brother, for you are responsible, our blood is upon you.” And Moses said to them, “Why quarrel you with me? Wherefore do you try the Eternal?[132] This quarrel is to test G-d, that is, whether He can give you water.[133] If you will hold your peace and let me alone and instead pray to Him, perhaps He will answer you.” And indeed, it was their intent to try [G-d], as Scripture says, And the name of the place was called Massah (Trying) and Meribah (Quarrel), because of the quarrel of the children of Israel and because they tried the Eternal, saying: Is the Eternal among us, or not?[134] Then their anger against him relented,[135] and for a day or two, they were supplied by the waters in their vessels. But afterwards, the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses,[136] something like the complaints they made whenever they wanted something, saying, Wherefore have you brought us up out of Egypt?[137] When Moses saw that they thirsted for water, then he prayed to G-d and recounted before Him his distress when they first quarrelled with him.[138]

 

Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra said that there were two groups: one that quarreled [with Moses because they had no water to drink], and one [that had water which they brought from Alush, the place where they were encamped before coming to Rephidim,[139] but] who tested G-d [to see if He would give them water]. The correct interpretation is as I have explained.

 

Desert of Sinai camp #11

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:15 They left the railing or baluster place (Rephidim) and camped in the the Hatred Place[140] - (Desert of Sinai camp #11).

 

“And they traveled from Rephidim” - the place where Amalek met and fought with them, because, our Sages tell us, they suffered a “Rifyon Yadayim,” a weakness. What sort of weakness? A weakness in Torah learning.

 

1. They arrived on 1 Sivan, 2448 (May 9, 1313 b.c.e.), and remained almost a year, until 20 Iyar, 2449 (May 17, 1312 b.c.e.); Bamidbar 10:11.[141]

 

2. They left on the twentieth day of the second month of the second year – Bamidbar (Numbers) 10:11

 

2.     They traveled from Rephidim and came to the Sinai Desert, and they camped in the desert; they (written: he, in the singular) camped opposite the mountain. (Shemot (Exodus) 19:2)

 

3.     The top of Sinai was shrouded with the clouds of glory. For the next five days Moshe ascended the maountain, descended, told the people the words of the Omnipresent, and returned their answer to to the Omnipresent. In the third month, on the sixth of the month, the ten commandments were given to them on a Sabbath Day.[142]

 

4.     On the Seventh Day after the Ten Commandments, Moses ascended the Mountain as it is said (Ex. 24:16): ‘The glory of the Eternal dwelt on Mount Sinai and the cloud covered it for seven days”, to purify him, “and He called to Moses on the seventh day from amidst the cloud.” (v. 18) “He ascended the Mountain; Moses staid on the Mountain for forty days and forty nights”. On the 17th of Tammuz he descended, broke the tablets (Ex. 32:30) “and on the next day, Moses said to the people: You have committed a grave sin”. He ascended on the 18th of Tammuz and asked for mercy on Israel as it is written (Deut. 9:18): “I fell down before the Eternal the forty days and forty nights that I fell down because the Eternal had said to destroy you”. At that moment, the Eternal showed pleasure with Israel and said to Moses to quarry the second tablets and to ascend as it is said (Deut. 10:1): “At that time, the Eternal said to me: quarry for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones, ascend the Mountain to me, and make yourself a wooden chest”.

 

5.     (Num. 1:1): "The Eternal spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tabernacle, on the first of the second month in the second year: (Num. 1:2) count the heads on the entire congregation of the children of Israel, (Num. 1:3) those twenty years old and older, every man of military age in Israel. (Num. 1:4) With you shall be one man from each tribe, each one being a family head". After that (Num. 4:1) "distinguish the persons from the family of Qehat"; after that (Num. 4:22) "distinguish the persons from the family of Gershon"; after that (Num. 4:29) "distinguish the persons from the family of Merari"; after that (Num. 4:49) "by the order of the Eternal they were put into office by Moses". On the fourteenth of Iyar the impure by corpses did slaughter the Passover sacrifice as it is said (Num. 9:6-11): "there were people who were impure by a human corpse . . . These people said to [Moses] . . . The Eternal said to Moses, saying: every person that will be impure by a human corpse or on a trip far away, for you or for future generations, shall make a Passover for the Eternal". (Num. 10:11): "It was in the second year in the second month on the twentieth of the month that the Cloud rose from the Tabernacle". It follows that they stayed in the wilderness of Sinai from 12 months minus 10 days2. It says (Num. 33:2): "Moses wrote down the starting places of their journeys".

 

Rashi on Shemot 19:2 and Israel encamped there Heb. וַיִּחַן, [the singular form, denoting that they encamped there] as one man with one heart, but all the other encampments were [divided] with complaints and with strife.-[from Mechilta]

 

The fact that the Torah referred to the entire Jewish nation in the singular, Rashi says, was to allude to the tremendous unity inspired by the awesome event of Kabballat HaTorah (Receiving the Torah). But why here? Why did the Torah feel compelled to inform us of this phenomenon here? The reason is because such unity is not merely a measure of social harmony, it is also the measure of objectivity, an imperative for receiving Torah ... the way HaShem wants it to be received.

 

Kibroth Hattaavah camp #12

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:16 They left the Desert of Sinai and camped at the Graves of Craving[143] (Kibroth Hattaavah camp #12).

 

1. The people ate quail for an entire month – Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:31

 

2. It was so named because they buried those who craved other food – Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:34

 

3. Those who craved other food were struck by a plague from HaShem – Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:33-34.

 

4. They set out from the wilderness of Sinai, came to the Graves of Desire, and stayed there for 30 days as it says (Num. 11:19-20): "Not one day shall you eat and not two days . . . but a full month . . ."[144]

 

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:15. thence to the Graves of those who desired flesh;

 

In this place, Moshe anointed new Elders. The first Elders died at the time of the golden calf. These Elders were chosen because they were the Jewish over-seers in Egypt who took the punishment of the Jews. This portion is found in Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:24-30. They were anointed at this time because the Bne Israel were about to be punished for rebelling against HaShem, and they needed the Elders to again help them bear their punishment. In the Triennial Torah cycle, this portion [BaMidbar (Numbers) 11:16 - 12:16[145]]  is read on the first Shabbat after Pesach, in the Tishri cycle, and on Shabbat Nachamu 6, near the middle of Elul.

 

The Question: Why was the place where those who complained against HaShem named Kivrot HaTaavah [“the graves of the desire“] rather than Kivrot HaMitavim [“the graves of those who craved”]?

 

The Answer: The Maayanah Shel Torah cites the Binah L’Itim as explaining that it was not only the people who craved meat and wanted to return to Egypt who were buried there, but also the craving itself that was laid to rest. Everyone present who witnessed the punishment meted out to those who had complained was purged of his craving. Hence, the burial of those who craved also resulted in the burial of the craving itself, which is why the site was named Kivrot HaTaavah [“the graves of the desire“].

 

Kivrot HaTa'avah[146] corresponds to the sefira of chochma, for they buried there the people who lusted. Meaning to say, when a person attains the level of chochma, he loses all his [material] desires in his great attachment to HaShem.[147]

 

Chazeroth camp #13

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:17 They left the graves of Craving (Kibroth Hattaavah) and camped at the Courtyards[148] (Chazeroth camp #13).

 

1. Miriam and Aaron grumbled against Moshe because he separated from his wife. – Bamidbar (Numbers) 12:1-2

 

2. Miriam was confined outside the camp for 7 days due to leprosy – Bamidbar (Numbers) 12:15

 

3.  They set out from the Graves of Desire and came to Hazerot and stayed there for seven days as it is said (Num. 12:15) "Miryam was locked up for seven days".[149] 

 

4. Moshe speaks to the Israelites in the fortieth year. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 1:1

 

5. Some say that this is where Korach rebelled. (Rashi on Devarim 1:1 )

 

6. They arrived on Sivan 22, 2449.

 

7. According to Rashi, these stops were made before the sin of the spies in the first year of the exodus.

 

8. The Mishkan was first built after the 12th journey. It will travel with the Bne Israel for the next thirty stops.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:17. thence to Hazeroth, where Miriam the prophetess was struck, with leprosy;

 

In the Triennial Torah cycle, this portion [BaMidbar (Numbers) 11:16 - 12:16[150]] is read on the first Shabbat after Pesach, in the Tishri cycle, and on Shabbat Nachamu 6, near the middle of Elul.

 

Rithmah camp #14

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:18 They left the Courtyard (Chazeroth) and camped at the Wasteland[151] Smoldering[152] place (Rithmah[153] camp #14).

 

This station is not mentioned by name in Shemot (Exodus), but the events chronicled in Shemot (Exodus) chapter 16 occurred there.

 

1. This is Kadesh (a holy one) Barnea.[154] This is synonymous with Paran.[155] The spies were sent out from here. Bamidbar (Numbers) 13:1-3

 

2. They arrived on Sivan 29, 2449. Some say that they remained here for 19 years. - Seder Olam 8, from Devarim (Deuteronomy) 1:46, according to Ramban on 20:1; Chizzkuni). See Bamidbar, 33:36. They were thus in Rithmah until 2468 (1293 b.c.e.).

 

3. (Rashi; Midrash Aggadah; Baal HaTurim cf. Tehillim 120:4). Some say that this was a place where many broom (rothem) trees grew (Targum Yonathan; cf. 1 Melachim 19:4, Iyov [Job] 30:4).

 

4. They set out from Hazerot and came to the wilderness of Paran. On the 28th of Sivan did Moses send out the spies as it is said (Num. 13:20): "the days were those of the ripening of early grapes". (Num. 13:25): "They returned from touring the land after forty days", this was the Ninth of Ab, hence, one has to say that on the Ninth of Ab our forefathers incurred the decree that they would not enter the Land. After the spies was the quarrel with Qorah and his being swallowed up [by the earth] as it is said (Num. 16:14): "Not even to a land dripping with milk and honey did you lead us". (Num. 32:10): "Then the rage of the Eternal was kindled against Israel" and it is said (Deut. 2:14): "The time that we went from Qadesh Barnea until we crossed Wadi Zered was 38 years". Nineteen years they were wandering to and fro and Nineteen years they dwelt in Qadesh Barnea as it is said (Deut. 1:46): "You dwelt at Qadesh a long time, equal to the time that you dwelt".  All way stations together were forty-two way stations.[156]

 

5. The word “Rithmah” denotes desolation and waste, as in, “...into a desolate field,” “they have turned Jerusalem into desolation.” HaShem will punish you with arrows from above and smoldering flame from Gehinom below. (Rashi there) ‘Rithmah’ is from, “smoldering - רתמים.”

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:18. thence to Rithema, the place of many juniper trees;

 

RASHI: 18 Rithmah Heb. רִתְמָּה , so named because of the slander of the spies, for it says, ―What can He give you, and what can He add to you, you deceitful tongue? Sharpened arrows of a mighty man, with coals of brooms רְתָּמִים (Ps. 120:3-4). -[Mid. Aggadah]

 

Rimmon Perez camp #15

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:19 They left the Desolation place (Rithmah) and camped at the Spreading, or heavy fruited, Pomegranate Tree[157] (Rimmon Perez camp #15).

 

1.     They arrived here in 2468

 

2. Or Rimmon Paretz (Septuagint). ‘Spreading Pomegranate Tree,’ or ‘Heavy-fruited Pomegranate’. They were now heading south toward the Gulf of Aqaba; circumscribing the Seir Mountains (Devarim 2:1). Some say that they traveled through the Moab Desert.[158]

 

3. A rimmon is a pomegranate, which is often associated with Torah, since the sages found a correlation between a pomegranate’s “613” seeds and the 613 commandments said to be found in the Torah. Peretz is the word for breach-making. When the Israelites say, “We will hear and we will do,” they have made a leap of faith into the breach, for the sake of Torah.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:19. thence to Rumana, whose fruit is hard;

 

Livnah camp #16

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:20 They left the Spreading, or heavy fruited, Pomegranate Tree (Rimmon Perez) and camped at the Brick[159] place. (Livnah camp #16).

 

1. The boundaries were all marked with building bricks - Targum Yonathan

 

2. Livnah comes from the root meaning “white,” which is often associated with purity.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:20. thence to Libnah, whose borders are built of bricks (Iibnetha);

 

Rissah camp #17

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:21 They left the White Brick (Livnah) and camped at the Well Stopped Up With Stones[160] - ruin - (Rissah camp #17).

 

1. Or, ‘Beth Rissah’[161]; ‘Ressan’ (Septuagint). In Arabic, ‘rissah’ denotes a well stopped up with stones.

 

2. From the root r-s-s, meaning moist, or dew, this is symbolic of the people’s washing of their clothes (which according to the sages included immersion in a mikveh).

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:21. thence to Beth Rissa;

 

Kehelathah or Mak’helath camp #18

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:22 They left the Well Stopped Up With Stones - ruin - (Rissah) and camped at the place of the Assembly (Kehelathah or Mak’helath camp #18).

 

1. Since there were eighteen stops between Rithmah and Kadesh, the Israelites spent on the average of one year at each stop. Therefore, this occurred approximately in 2471 (1290 b.c.e.).

 

2. Or, ‘Mak’helath’[162]. Some say that this was the place of Korach’s rebellion (Targum Yonathan; Baal HaTurim).

 

3. From the root k-h-l meaning community, the Israelites become a true community at the moment they stood present at Sinai before the revelation.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 26:9 And the sons of Eliab; Nemuel, and Dathan, and Abiram. This is that Dathan and Abiram, which were famous in the congregation, who strove against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against HaShem: 10 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:22. thence to Kebelath, where Korach and his companions banded together against Mosheh and Aharon;

 

Shepher camp #19

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:23 They left the assembly place (Kehelathah) and camped at the beautiful mountain[163] (Shepher camp #19).

 

1. Or, ‘Shafer’ (cf. Septuagint). Literally, ‘beautiful mountain.’ Some say that it was a mountain with beautiful fruit (Targum Yonathan).

 

2. This name can be read as either, “Bright Mountain”—which is symbolic of the fire and lightning which accompanied the revelation, or better yet, Har Shofar, “Shofar Mountain”!

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:23. thence to the mountain whose fruit is good;

 

Haradah camp #20

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:24 They left the beautiful mountain[164] (Shepher) and camped at the place of Terror[165] (Haradah camp #20).

 

1. ‘Trembling’ This is where they trembled because of the plague.[166]

 

2. The word haradah in Hebrew means “fear” (see Bereshit 26:33). The word “makheloth” can be associated with the word “hakhel,” which means “gathered together” and the word “tachat” can mean “lowering down.” Thus, the Torah is teaching that “vayise’u meichareidah”, the Jewish people can journey away and not have to fear retribution for their iniquities if “vayachanu bemakheloth”, they are encamped in unity. However, if “vayise’u mimakheloth”, they journey away from their unity, and disharmony and animosity prevails, then “vayachanu betachat”, they will be encamped at a lower level, and, HaShem forbid, they will be punished for any iniquities which were previously not taken into consideration.

 

3. This same root is used in this pivotal verse to describe the trembling of the Israelites at the awesomeness of the moment of revelation.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:24. thence to Harada, where they were confounded by the evil plague;

 

Makheloth camp #21

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:25 They left the fearful place (Haradah) and camped at the place of the Assemblies[167] (Makheloth camp #21).

 

1. This is said to be a place of assembly (Targum Yonathan), possibly where the miracle of Aaron’s rod occurred (Bamidbar 17:17; 17:24). It might have also been a place of praising HaShem (cf. Tehillim 68:27, 26:12). Some say that it was the place where a demonstration occurred (Baal HaTurim; cf. Bamidbar 16:3; 20:2).

 

2. Once again, we see the Hebrew root for community / gathering.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:25. thence to Makheloth, the place of congregation;

 

Tahath camp #22

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:26 They left the place of the assemblies (Makheloth) and camped at the Lowlands[168] (Tahath camp #22).

 

1. Identified with ‘Kataath’ (Septuagint). Some say that tachath is an improper noun, denoting the lowlands of Mak’heloth.[169]

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:26. thence to the lower Makheloth;

 

Terah camp #23

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:27 They left the bottom (Tahath) and camped at Ibex place[170] (Terah camp #23).

 

1. Or Tarach. This was the name of Abraham’s father (Bereshit 11:25; Following Semitic cognates, terach denotes a kind of ibex, and this was possibly a place where such animals were found.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:27. thence to Tharach,

 

Mithcah camp #24

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:28 They left the Ibex place (Terah) and camped at the place of Sweet delight[171] or Sweetness[172] (Mithcah camp #24).

 

1. This was a place with good fresh water. Targum Yonathan

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:28. and Muka, whose waters were sweet;

 

Chashmonah[173] camp #25

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:29 They left the place of sweetness (Mithcah) and camped at the Ambassador[174] [Lit. armed, but related as well to the word “fifty”[175]] (Chashmonah[176] camp #25).

 

1. The Chasmonian family came from here. Middoth 1:6; Shabbath 21b

 

2. See Psalms 68:32, Joshua 15:27. In Tehillim 68:32, the Septuagint translates chashman as ‘ambassador.’ Chashmonah is identified with Selmonah.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:29. thence to Hasmona;

 

Moseroth camp #26

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:30 They left the place of fruitfulness (Chashmonah[177]) and camped at the Chastisement[178] place (Moseroth camp #26). The Targum calls this location Motseroth.[179]

 

1. From the word mussar, ‘chastisement.’ It is thus seen as a place of chastisement or rebellion. In Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:6; we find the Israelites going from Beney Yaakan to Moserah; and according to tradition, the Israelites returned as far as Moserah after Aaron’s death. This was an act of rebellion, and a large number of Israelites were killed.[180]

 

2. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:6 The Israelites traveled from the wells of the Jaakanites to Moserah. There Aaron died and was buried, and Eleazar his son succeeded him as priest[181].

 

3. From the root meaning inherited tradition.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:30. thence to Meredotha, the place of rebellion (or chastisement);

 

Bene Jaakan camp #27

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:31 They left the place of Correction (Moseroth) and camped at the place of the Wells of the Narrow Path[182], or Wells of Distress[183] (Bene Jaakan camp #27).

 

1. From Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:6 we know that there were wells here.

 

2. Beeroth Beney Yaakan, ‘Wells of the Sons of Yaakan’ in Deuteronomy 10:6; Banaea in Septuagint. Yaakan was a Horite; see Bereshit 36:27; 1 Chronicles 1:42. Others render this, ‘wells of distress’ (Targum Yonathan), or ‘wells of the narrow pass’ (Commentary on Targum Yonathan).

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:31. thence to BereHaktha,

 

Chor Haggidgad camp #28

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:32 They left the wise son place - wells of the narrow path (Bene Jaakan[184]) and camped at Hole of Gidgad[185] (Chor Haggidgad camp #28).

 

1. Gad means “good fortune” – Bereshit (Genesis) 30:11

 

2.     ‘Hole of Gidgad,’ or ‘Clefts of Gidgad’. Gudgad in Devarim 10:7[186].

 

3.     The Septuagint has ‘Gadgad Mountain.’

 

4.     Rashi indicates that Gudgod is Hor-Haggidgad.[187]

 

5.     From the route g-d-d, which means to penetrate, or make inroads upon.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:32. Gudgad, at the Rocks,

 

Yotvathah camp #29

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:33 They left the hole of the cleft (Hor Haggidgad) and camped at the place of Pleasantness (Yotvathah camp #29).

 

1. A place described as having flowing brooks. A good calm place.[188]

 

2. Yatbah in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:7.

 

3. From the root y-t-v, meaning good.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:33. Jotebath, a good and quiet place;

 

Avronah camp #30

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:34 They left the pleasant place (Yotvathah) and camped at the A Good Calm place[189] (Avronah camp #30).

 

1. This is translated as a ‘river crossing’ or ‘ford,’ megisathah in Aramaic (Targum Yonathan; cf. Targum on 21:11, Jeremiah 22:20). This may be where they crossed the Aravah wadi on the way to Elath (cf. Devarim 2:8).

 

2. From the same root as our namesake, IvrimHebrews / Border-Crossers.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:34. thence to the Fords;

 

Ezion Geber camp #31

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:35 They left the place of transition (Avronah) and camped at the Giant’s backbone - Rooster’s crow[190] or city (Ezion Geber camp #31).

 

1. Port and shipyard for Solomon - 1 Melachim (Kings) 9:26, II Divre HaYamim (Chronicles) 8:17

 

2. See also 1 Melachim (Kings) 22:49

 

3. ‘Rooster’s Crow!’ K’rakh Tarngul in Aramaic (Targum Yonathan; Commentary ad loc.) or, ‘Rooster City.’ It is a town on the Gulf of Aqaba, some 2 miles east of Elath (cf. Devarim 2:8, 1 Melachim 9:26). The Israelites therefore had headed south from Kadesh Barnea to the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.

 

4. From the roots meaning strong and tree.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:35. thence to Tarnegolla, the tower of the cock;

 

Kadesh camp #32

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:36 They left the giant’s backbone - rooster’s crow or city (Ezion Geber[191]) and camped at the Sanctuary (Kadesh camp #32), in the Desert of the crag - to prick - (Zin). The Targum calls this location Kedem.[192]

 

1. Spring of judgment - Genesis 14:7

 

2. Waters of Meribah (strife) - Numbers 20:12-14, 20:24, Numbers 27:14, and Deuteronomy 32:51

 

3. Miriam died here. Numbers 20:1.

 

4. They arrived on Nisan 1, 2484

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:36. thence to the wilderness of Zin; at the Iron Mount, which is Rekem;

 

Rashi’s Commentary for: Psalm 29:8 - the Lord causes the desert of Kadesh to quake That is the desert of Sinai, as our Sages said in Tractate Shabbath (89a): It was called by five names: the desert of Sinai, the desert of Zin, the desert of Kadesh, the desert of Kedemoth, the desert of Paran. [It was called] the desert of Kadesh because Israel was sanctified on its account.

 

Hor camp #33

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:37 They left the sanctuary (Kadesh) and camped at Mountain of mountains (Hor camp #33), on the border of the red place (Edom). The Targum calls this location Mount Umanom.[193]

 

1. It had what looked like a mountain on top of a mountain. Bemidbar rabbah 19:16

 

2. See Bamidbar 20:22, 26, 21:4. Also see Bamidbar 34:6.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:38-40 At HaShem’s command the enlightened one (Aaron2) the priest went up the mountain of mountains (Hor), where he died on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after the children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites) came out of the Constriction Place[194] (Egypt). The enlightened one (Aaron[195]) was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on the mountain of mountains (Hor). The humiliated (Canaanite) king of a fugitive place (Arad), who lived in the parched place (Negev) of the humiliated one (Canaan), heard that the children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites) were coming.

 

1. Av 1, 2448

 

2. See also Devarim (Deuteronomy) 10:6-7

 

3. Aaron was three years older than Moshe. Shemot (Exodus) 7:7

 

4. King of Arad See Bamidbar 21:1.

 

The Targum tells us that the following event took place here:

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 21:1 And Amalek, who had dwelt in the south, and changed, and came and reigned in Arad, heard that the soul of Aharon was at rest, that the pillar of the Cloud which for his sake had led the people of the house of Israel had been taken up, and that Israel was coming by the way of the explorers to the place where they had rebelled against the Lord of the world. For, when the explorers had returned, the children of Israel abode in Rekem, but afterward returned from Rekem to Motseroth, in six encampments during forty years, when they journeyed from Motseroth, and returned to Rekem by the way of the explorers, and came unto Mount Umanom, where Aharon died; (and,) behold, he came and arrayed battle against Israel, and captured some of them with a great captivity. [JERUSALEM. And when the Kenaanite, king Arad, who dwelt in the south, heard that Aharon was dead, that holy man on account of whose merit the Cloud of Glory had protected Israel; that the pillar of the Cloud had been taken up; and that the prophetess Mizraim was dead, on whose account the well had flowed, but had (since) been hidden; he answered and said, You servants of war, come and let us set battle in line against Israel; for we will find the way by which the explorers came up. Therefore they set battle in line against Israel, and carried away some of them with a great captivity.]

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:37. thence to Mount Umano, on the borders of the Land of Edom.

 

Tzalmonah camp #34

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:41 They left the mountain of mountains (Hor) and camped at a place of Shadiness (Tzalmonah camp #34).

 

1. This is where the people began complaining again. 21:5, Targum Yonathan

 

2. They were again heading south toward the Gulf of Aqaba (Bamidbar 21:4, Ibn Ezra, Chizzkuni ad loc.).

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:41. And they removed from Mount Umano, and encamped in Zalmona, a place of thorns, and narrow (or squalid), in the land of the Edomaee; and there the soul of the people was distressed on account of the way;

 

Ramban’s comments:

 

41. AND THEY JOURNEYED FROM MOUNT HOR, AND PITCHED IN ZALMONAH. These places - Zalmonah and Punon[196] — were by the way of the Red Sea circling the land of Edom, and the soul of the people became impatient because of the way,[197] and they [therefore] spoke against G-d, and Moses[198] on the way, and G-d sent against them the fiery serpents whilst they were travelling and when they rested in camp. Then Moses made the serpent of brass, which they carried upon a pole[199] all the way, and [kept it] when they encamped in Zalmonah and Punon, and it was not removed from them until they pitched in Oboth.[200] Therefore Scripture there, in narrating this episode [of the fiery serpents, above in Chapter 21], did not mention the name of the place [from which they set forth again, i.e., Zalmonah and Punon] and [merely] stated, And the children of Israel journeyed, and pitched in Oboth,[201] without saying “and they journeyed from such-and-such a place and pitched in Oboth” as it does with all the [other stages of their] journeyings. This is because the matter [of the brass serpent] continued throughout this way — from the time that they journeyed from Mount Hor until they pitched in Oboth, and they journeyed from Oboth and pitched in Ije-abarim.[202] From there they journeyed and they pitched in Divon-gad, and then in Almon-diblathaim, and [finally] in the mountains of Abarim,[203] [all these] being places in the valley of Zered.[204]

 

Punon camp #35

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:42 They left the shady place (Tzalmonah) and camped at Perplexity (Punon camp #35).

 

1. This is where the Israelites were bitten by poisonous snakes. 21:6, Targum Yonathan.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:42. thence to Punon, where the Lord sent burning serpents among them, and their cry went up to heaven.

 

Oboth camp #36

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:43 They left perplexity (Punon) and camped at Necromancer (Oboth camp #36).

 

1. See Bamidbar (Numbers) 21:10.

 

The Targum gives us some insights about this location:

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:43. And they removed to Oboth;

 

Iye Abarim camp #37

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:44 They left necromancer (Oboth) and camped at the ruins of those who Passage of the fords[205] - Ruins of the Passes[206] (Iye Abarim camp #37), on the border of the mother’s father (Moab).

 

1. See Bamidbar 21:11. Or, ‘crossing fords’ (Targum), or, ‘desolate mounds’ (Rashi).

 

RASHI:  44 the ruins of Abarim Heb. עִיּי הָּעֲבָּרִים , an expression denoting waste and ruins, as ―into a heap (לְעִי ) in the field (Micah 1:6); ―they have turned Jerusalem into heaps (לְעִיִּים ) (Ps. 79:1).

 

The Targum gives us some insights about this location:

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for Bamidbar (Numbers) 21:11-12 and they journeyed from Oboth, and encamped in the plain of Megistha, in a desert place which looks toward Moab from the rising of the sun. Thence they journeyed and encamped in a valley abounding in reeds, osiers, and mandrakes.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:44. thence to the passage of the Fords, on the border of the Moabaee;

 

Divon Gad camp #38

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:45 They left the ruins of those who cover in copulation - desolate passes (Iyim) and camped at the place of the Place of fortune[207] (Divon Gad camp #38).

 

1. Dibon Gad was allotted to the tribe of Gad, Numbers 32, although it was listed in the tribe of Reuben in Joshua 13:15-17.

 

2. Gad means “good fortune” – Bereshit (Genesis) 30:11. This was a place of good fortune. Targum Yonathan.

 

3. Some say that this was on the Zared brook where all of the offending generation were now dead. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 2:14

 

4. This is Av 15, 2488 - Taanith 30b, two weeks after Aaron’s death.

 

5. Some identify Divon Gad with Vahev (see Bamidbar 21:14) and Matanah (Bamidbar 21:18; Adereth Eliahu).

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:45. thence to Dibon, the place of fortune;

 

Almon Diblathaim camp #39

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:46 They left the place of the sorrowing overcomers (Dibon Gad) and camped towards a Cake of pressed figs (Almon Diblathaim camp #39).

 

1. 2 Melachim 20, and Yeshiyahu (Isaiah) 38, tell the story of Hezekiah’s recovery after being cured by HaShem, using a cake of figs.

 

2. Some say that this is also on the Zared Brook (Ramban). Others identify it with Matanah (Ibn Ezra), where Eshed Nachal, Beer, Matanah and Nachaliel are all in the Almon Divlathaymah area (Ibn Ezra on Bamidbar 21:18). Others say that it is on Nachaliel (Lekach Tov on Bamidbar 21:19), or the far side of the Arnon in Bamidbar 21:13 (Chizzkuni). It may be related to Almon in Joshua 21:18, Beth Divlathayim in Jeremiah 48:22, or Divlah in Ezekiel 6:14.

 

3. It is mentioned in the Book of G-d’s Wars, “As an outside boundary, I have given [to you] the brooks of Arnon, as well as the valley’s waterfall by Moav’s boundary, which turns at the fortress (ayin-raish) settlement.” (Bamidbar [Numbers] 21:14-15)

 

This is where the tremendous miracle took place just before the Jewish people entered Eretz Israel. According to the Midrash, the Amorites were all set to ambush the Jewish people upon entry into the land. However, as they waited inside the caves, high up in the mountains, HaShem caused the opposite mountains with their protrusions to approach and crush the Amorites to death.

 

What is significant about all of this here is that the result was shirah by the Jewish people. Shirah is the ultimate expression of the recognition of the hand of HaShem in the affairs of man, and particularly, of the Jewish people. It is the very hakoret hatov, recognition of the good, that Adam HaRishon failed to show just after he ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:46. thence to Almon Diblathaimah, where the well was hidden from them, because they had forsaken the words of the law, which are as delicious as figs (diblatha);

 

B’hari Abarim camp #40

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:47 They left the direction of a cake of pressed figs (Almon Diblathaim) and camped in the Mountains of the Passes (B’hari Abarim camp #40), near a Babylonian diety (Nebo).

 

1. N’vo in Hebrew. This is where Moshe died. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:49-50

 

2. See Bamidbar (Numbers) 27:12. Some identify this with Matanah (Bamidbar 21:18; Chizzkuni) or Bamoth (Lekach Tov on Bamidbar 21:18).

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:47. thence to the Mount Ibraee, in front of the place of the burial of Mosheh;

 

Moab camp #41

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:48 They left the mountains of the region beyond (Abarim) and camped on the plains of the Mother’s father (Moab camp #41) by the descending from the judge (Dan) river (Jordan) across from the moon place (Jericho[208]).

 

Jericho (יריחו) the Jews’ point of entry into Eretz Israel is associated with Mashiach, who is described[209] as דמורח ודאין , “judging the worthy with his sense of smell (ריח).”

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:48. thence they removed and encamped in the fields of Moab, by Jordan, near Jericho;

 

Beth Yeshimoth - camp #42

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:49 There on the plains of the mother’s father (Moab) they camped along the descending from the judge (Dan) river (Jordan) from House of The Desolations[210] (Beth Yeshimoth - camp #forty-two) to the meadow of the acacias (Abel Shittim – Avel Shittim means “a flatland of Shittim”[211]).

 

1. Balaam attempted to curse Israel at Abel Shittim in Micah 6:5 and Bamidbar (Numbers) 22-24. Joshua camped here - Joshua 2:1 and 3:1. Phineas spears fornicators in front of Israel here - Numbers 25. This area was renowned for it’s date groves and grain fields -Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol 2, page 62

 

2. Shittim Plain[212]. Some say that an avel is a desolate plain[213]. This is Shittim mentioned in 25:1; and was the last stop before crossing the Jordan (Joshua 2:1, 3:1). It may be related to Avel Mitzraim in Bereshit 50:11.

 

3. The Talmud notes that Avel Shittim is 12 mil from Beth HaYeshimoth (Eruvin 55b; Yerushalmi, Shevi’ith 6:1; Rashi). It would therefore appear that the Israelites were camped between the Ujemi Brook, just north of the Dead Sea, and the Abu Araba stream, some five miles to the north. The plain between the Jordan and the Aravah mountains there is approximately twelve mil wide, the width of the Israelite camp.

 

RASHI:  49 from Beth-jeshimoth to Abel-shittim This teaches you that the extent of Israel’s camp was twelve mil [a mil equaling approximately 3500 ft.] for Rabbah bar bar Channah said, ―I myself saw that place [and it is three parasangs (12 mil) square].-[Eruvin 55b]

 

RASHI:  Abel-shittim The plain of Shittim was called Abel.

 

Sanhedrin 106a Balaam advised Balak to ensnare the children of Israel with them. He said to him: “Their G-d hates promiscuity, and they are very partial to linen. Come, and I will advise you what to do. Erect for them tents enclosed by hangings, and place in them harlots, old women without, young women within, to sell them linen garments.”

 

So he erected curtained tents from the snowy mountain (Hermon) as far as Beth ha-Yeshimoth, and placed harlots in them -- old women on the opuside, young women within. And when an Israelite ate, drank, and was merry, and issued forth for a stroll in the market place, the old woman would say to him, ‘Do you desire linen garments?” The old woman offered it at its current value, but the young one for less. This happened two or three times. After that she would say to him, “You are now like one of the family; sit down and choose for yourself.” Gourds of Ammonite wine lay near her, and at that time Ammonite and heathen wine had not yet been forbidden. Said she to him: “Would you like to drink a glass of wine?” Having drunk, his passion was inflamed and he exclaimed to her, “Yield to me!” Thereupon she brought forth an idol from her bosom and said to him, “Worship this.”

 

Recall that Balak, at Bilaam’s instruction, offered fourteen sacrifices on three different altars, for a total of forty-two sacrifices. These forty-two were offered at the forty-second journey of the Children of Israel.

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:50-52 On the plains of the mother’s father (Moab) by the descending from the judge (Dan) river (Jordan) across from the moon (Jericho)[214] HaShem said to Moshe, “Speak to the children of the one who will rule as G-d (Israelites) and say to them: ‘When you cross the descending from the judge (Dan) river (Jordan) into the humiliated place (Canaan), Drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places.

 

1. “The plains of Moab” and “this side of the Jordan” are both names that describe the same physical location. And yet, each name has a different connotation:

 

“The plains of Moab” identifies the location by its connection to the land of Moab. “This side of the Jordan,” by contrast, associates it with the land of Israel, identifying it as lying on the eastern shore of the Jordan river, with the rest of the land of Israel lying toward the west.

 

“The plains of Moab”[215] is symbolic of the exile and its completion; “this side of the Jordan” is symbolic of our preparation for Mashiach’s imminent arrival. Indeed, “this side of the Jordan” is a most appropriate name with which to characterize our present transitional period, for it corresponds to the Jews’ heightened state of anticipation in the fortieth year of their going out of Egypt.

 

Targum Pseudo Jonathan for B’midbar (Numbers) 33:49. and they encamped by the Jordan, from Bethjeshimon unto the plain of Sillan in the fields of Moab.

 

Leaving Egypt (Mitzraim) means constantly leaving all constrictions (mitzarim), even the spiritual levels acquired yesterday. And both Yarden and Yeraicho allude to the last stop; the revelation of Mashiach. Yarden because it says of him “He will rule (Yared) from sea to sea (Tehillim 72:8), Yereacho because he will Judge by his sense of smell[216].

 

Ramban’s remez comments:

 

53. AND YE SHALL DRIVE OUT THE INHABITANTS OF THE LAND, AND DWELL THEREIN; FOR UNTO YOU HAVE I GIVEN THE LAND TO POSSESS IT. In my opinion this is a positive commandment,[217] in which He is commanding them to dwell in the Land and inherit it, because He has given it to them and they should not reject the inheritance of the Eternal.[218] Thus if the thought occurs to them to go and conquer the land of Shinar or the land of Assyria or any other country and to settle therein, they are [thereby] transgressing the commandment of G-d. And that which our Rabbis have emphasized, the significance of the commandment of settling in the Land of Israel, and that it is forbidden to leave it [except for certain specified reasons], and [the fact] that they consider a woman who does not want to emigrate with her husband to live in the Land of Israel as a “rebellious [wife],”[219] and likewise the man[220] — the source of all these statements is here [in this verse] where we have been given this commandment, for this verse constitutes a positive commandment.[221] This commandment He repeats in many places, such as Go in and possess the Land.[222] Rashi, however, explained: “And ye shall drive out the inhabitants of the Land — [if] you dispossess it of its inhabitants, then ye willbe able to dwell therein, and to remain there, but if not, you will not be able to remain in it.” But our interpretation [of the verse] is the principal one.

 

Parasha Motsei[223]:

 

This parsha is the end of the fourth book, Bamidbar. It also contains within it a summary of the entire forty years in the desert, including all the locations the Jewish people camped at, FORTY-TWO in all, starting with Ramses. At first thought the number forty-two may not be significant, but the Pri Tzaddik is quick to point out that forty-two is the number of letters found in the special and holy Name of HaShem that prophets used to pronounce and meditate on when going into a state of prophecy. Therefore, the Pri Tzaddik teaches, these forty-two stops correspond to this forty-two letter Name.

 

However, what is the significance of this correspondence?

 

We know that each camp the Jewish people established throughout their forty years in the desert was not merely a place to become rejuvenated; they were places to become reJEWvenated. In other words, each journey represented a new path to an even higher level of spiritual growth and connection to Torah, and each camp was the time and place to integrate that new level. This way, when it came time to leave, the Jewish people were a new people, or, rather, the same people on a higher level. This was a process of growth that was to continue until the Jewish people simultaneously reached perfection and the Land of Israel.

 

This, the Pri Tzaddik[224] points out, is also an analogy for life. Everyone has forty-two “stops” to make on his way to personal spiritual completion, for which he was put here on the earth. What that forty-second level will look like for each person will be different, but it means the same thing for all of us: spiritual completion.

 

Thus, whenever the concept of “forty-two“ comes up, it usually alludes to an opportunity to become more spiritually elevated. This is why the prayer Ana b’koach (“Please with the strength ...”) is found in all siddurim before Pesukei D’Zimrei (Introductory Psalms), and Lecha Dodi erev Shabbat, at times that we are ripe for spiritual elevation. And, as the Kabballists point out, Ana b’koach is made up of seven stanzas each with six words, whose forty-two letter acrostic alludes to HaShem’s forty-two letter Name.

 

Musings

 

I wonder if we can derive any info from the forty-two journey’s of the Bne Israel and the Sefirat HaOmer count on the forty-second day?

 

Forty-two days - Six Weeks of the Omer

Malchut she’be’Yesod

 

Forty-two days, which are six weeks, of the Omer. The emotional attribute to work on and refine today is Malchut she’b’Yesod. Malchut is the attribute of nobility and sovereignty. Yesod is bonding and unity.

 

In The Nazarean Codicil

 

1 Corinthians 10:1-11 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moshe in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Mashiach. But with many of them HaShem was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as [were] some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Mashiach, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for exmples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

 

The Beginning and The End

 

The journeys began with the exodus from Mitzrayim (Egypt) a hint to bain hamaitzarim, the Hebrew term for the three weeks (between Tammuz 17 and Ab 9). The last journey brought them to the Eretz Israel, a hint to the final redemption. It also hints to the twenty-one days between Rosh HaShana and Hoshana Rabbah.

 

 


In the Genealogy of Mashiach

 

#

Camp

Meaning

Matthew’s Genalogy

Connections

1

Succoth - סכת

Temporary Shelters

1 Abrahamאברהם

Heb. 11:9

2

Etham - אתם

Contemplation

2 Isaacיצחק

Gen. 24:63

3

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

Mouth of Freedom

3 Jacobיעקב

Gen. 31:48ff

4

Marah - מרה

Bitterness

4 Judah – יהודה

Ruth 1:20; Sota

5

Elim - אילם

Strong Man / Palm tree

5 Peretz – פרץ

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis 85:8

6

Reed Sea - סוף ים

Reed Sea

6 Hetzron – חצרון

Hetzron =“ surrounded by a wall”

7

Sin - סין מדבר

Desert of thorn or Clay

7 Ram – רם

Ram =“ high” or “exalted” vs.

8

Dophkah - דפקה

Knocking / Attack

8 Amminadab – עמינדב

Amminadab =“ my kinsman is noble”

9

Alush - אלוש

Powerful City - wild place

9 Nachshon – נחשון

Nahshon =“ enchanter”

10

Rephidim - רפידם

Weakness

10 Salmon – שלמה

Salmon =“ garment”

11

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

Hatred

11 Boaz – בעז

 

12

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

Graves of Craving

12 Obed – עובד

 

13

Chazeroth - חצרת

Courtyards

13 Jesse – ישי

 

14

Rithmah - רתמה

Wasteland – Smoldering

14 David – דוד

 

15

Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

Spreading Pomegranate Tree

1 Solomon – שלמה

 

16

Livnah - לבנה

White Brick

2 Rehoboam – רחבעם

 

17

Rissah - רסה

Well Stopped Up With Stones

3 Abijah - אביה

 

18

Kehelathah - קהלתה

Assemblies

4 Asa – אסא

 

19

Shapher - שפר

Beautiful mountain

5 Jehoshaphat – יהושפט

 

20

Haradah - חרדה

Terror

6 Joram – יורם

 

21

Makheloth - מקהלת

Assemblies

7 Uzziah – עזיה

 

22

Tahath - תחת

Lowlands

8 Jotham – יותם

 

23

Terah - תרח

Ibex

9 Ahaz – אחז

 

24

Mithcah - מתקה

Sweet Delight

10 Hezekiah – חזקיה

 

25

Chashmonah - חשמנה

Fruitfulness

11 Manasseh – מנשה

 

26

Moseroth - מסרות

Chastisement

12 Amon – אמון

 

27

Bene Jaakan - יעקן בני

Wells of the Narrow Path / distress

13 Josiah – יאשיה

 

28

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

Hole or cleft of Gidgad

14 Jechoniah – יכניה

 

29

Yotvathah - יטבתה

Pleasantness

1 Shealtiel – שאלתיאל

 

30

Avronah - עברנה

A Good Calm place

2 Zerubbabel – זרבבל

 

31

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

Rooster’s crow

3 Abiud – אביהוד

 

32

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

Sanctuary

4 Eliakim – אליקים

 

33

Hor - הר

Mountain of mountains

5 Azor – עזור

 

34

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

Shadiness

6 Sadoc – צדוק

 

35

Punon - פונן

Perplexity

7 Achim – יכין

 

36

Oboth - אבת

Necromancer

8 Eliud – אליהוד

 

37

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

Ruins of the Passes

9 Eleazar – אלעזר

 

38

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

Place of fortune

10 Matthan – מתן

 

39

Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

Cake of Pressed Figs

11 Jacobיעקב

 

40

M’hari Abarim – מֵהָרֵי הָעֲבָרִים

Mountains of the Passes

12 Josephיוסף

 

41

Moab - מואב

Mother’s Father

13 Yeshuaישוע

 

42

Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית

House of The Desolations

14 Mashiach ben David

 

 


 

In the Genealogy of Mashiach – Second look

 

#

Name of the

42 Stations

Matityahu’s

Genealogy

Sefirah

Meaning

1

Succoth

Avraham

Chesed of Gevurah

Kindness of Strength

2

Etham

Yitschaq

Gevurah of Gevurah

Strength of Strength

3

Pi Hahiroth

Ya’aqov

Tiferet of Gevurah

Beauty of Strength

4

Marah

Y’hudah

Netzach of Gevurah

Splendor of Strength

5

Elim

Paretz

Hod of Gevurah

Praise of Strength

6

Yam Suf

Chetsron

Yesod of Gevurah

Foundation of Strength

7

Sin

Ram

Malchut of Gevurah

Kingdom of Strength

8

Dophkah

Aminadav

Chesed of Tiferet

Kindness of Beauty

9

Alush

Nachshon

Gevurah of Tiferet

Strength of Beauty

10

Rephidim

Salmon

Tiferet of Tiferet

Beauty of Beauty

11

Desert of Sinai

Boaz

Netzach of Tiferet

Splendor of Beauty

12

Kibroth Hattaavah

Oved

Hod of Tiferet

Praise of of Beauty

13

Chazeroth

Yishay

Yesod of Tiferet

Foundation of Beauty

14

Rithmah

David

Malchut of Tiferet

Kingdom of Beauty

15

Rimmon Perez

Solomon

Chesed of Netzach

Kindness of Splendor

16

Livnah

Rehoboam

Gevurah of Netzach

Strength of Splendor

17

Rissah

Abijah

Tiferet of Netzach

Beauty of Splendor

18

Kehelathah

Asa

Netzach of Netzach

Splendor of Splendor

19

Shapher

Yehoshaphat

Hod of Netzach

Praise of Splendor

20

Haradah

Yoram

Yesod of Netzach

Foundation of Splendor

21

Makheloth

Uzziah

Malchut of Netzach

Kingdom of Splendor

22

Tahath

Jotham

Chesed of Hod

Kindness of Praise

23

Terah

Ahaz

Gevurah of Hod

Strength of Praise

24

Mithcah

Hezekiah

Tiferet of Hod

Beauty of Praise

25

Chashmonah

Manasseh

Netzach of Hod

Splendor of Praise

26

Moseroth

Amon

Hod of Hod

Praise of Praise

27

Bene Jaakan

Yosiah

Yesod of of Hod

Foundation of Praise

28

Char Haggidgad

Yeconiah

Malchut of Hod

Kingdom of Praise

29

Yotvathah

Shealtiel

Chesed of Yesod

Kindness of Foundation

30

Avronah

Zerubbabel

Gevurah of Yesod

Strength of Foundation

31

Etzion Geber

Abihud

Tiferet of Yesod

Beauty of Foundation

32

Kadesh (Rekem)

Eliakim

Netzach of Yesod

Splendor of Foundation

33

Hor

Azor

Hod of Yesod

Praise of Foundation

34

Tzalmonah

Zadok

Yesod of Yesod

Foundation of Foundation

35

Punon

Achim

Malchut of Yesod

Kingdom of Foundation

36

Oboth

Eliud

Chesed of Malchut

Kindness of Kingdom

37

Iye Abarim

Eleazar

Gevurah of Malchut

Strength of Kingdom

38

Divon Gad

Matthan

Tiferet of Malchut

Beauty of Kingdom

39

Almon Diblathaim

Ya’aqov

Netzach of Malchut

Splendor of Kingdom

40

M’Hari Abarim

Yoseph

Hod of Malchut

Praise of Kingdom

41

Moab

Mashiach ben Yosef

Yesod of Malchut

Foundation of Kingdom

42

Beth Jeshimoth

Mashiach ben David

Malchut of Malchut

Kingdom of Kingdom

 

Chetzron = Established settlement.[225] Brown, Driver, Briggs indicates a wall around a city.

Ram = High or exalted (BDB)

 

Triennial Torah Cycle

 

#

Camp

Meaning

Forty-Two Months

Triennial Torah Cycle

1

Succoth - סכת

Temporary Shelters

Nisan

Gen. 1:1 – 2:3

Gen. 3:22 – 4:26

2

Etham - אתם

Contemplation

Iyar

Gen. 5:1 – 6:8

Gen. 6:9 – 7:24

Gen. 8:1 – 9:17

Gen. 9:18 - 10:32

3

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

Mouth of Freedom

Sivan

Gen. 11:1-32

Gen. 12:1 – 13:18

Gen. 14:1-24

Gen. 15:1-21

Gen. 16:1-16

4

Marah - מרה

Bitterness

Tammuz

Gen. 17:1-27

Gen. 18:1-33

Gen. 19:1-38

Gen. 20:1-18

Gen. 21:1-33

5

Elim - אילם

Palm Tree

Av

Gen. 22:1 – 23:20

Gen. 24:1-41

Gen. 25:1-18

Gen. 25:19 – 26:35

6

Reed Sea - סוף ים

Reed Sea

Elul

Gen. 27:1-27

Gen. 27:28 – 28:9

Gen. 28:10 – 29:30

Gen. 29:31 – 30:21

7

Sin - סין

Desert of Clay

Tishri

Gen. 30:22 – 31:2

Gen. 31:3 – 32:3

Gen. 32:4 – 33:17

8

Dophkah - דפקה

Attack

Heshvan

Gen. 33:18 – 35:8

Gen. 35:9 – 36:43

Gen. 37:1-36

Gen. 38:1-30

9

Alush - אלוש

Wild

Kislev

Gen. 39:1 – 40:23

Gen. 41:1-37

Gen. 41:38 – 42:17

Gen. 42:18 – 43:13

10

Rephidim - רפידם

Weakness

Tevet

Gen. 43:14 – 44:17

Gen. 44:18 – 46:27

Gen. 46:28 – 47:31

Gen. 48:1-22

11

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

Hatred

Shevat

Gen. 49:1-26

Gen. 49:27 – 50:26

Ex 1:1- 2:25

12

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

Graves of Craving

Adar

Ex 3:1 – 4:17

13

Chazeroth - חצרת

Courtyard

Nisan

Ex 4:18 – 6:1

Ex 6:2 – 7:7

Ex 7:8 -8:15

14

Rithmah - רתמה

Smoldering

Iyar

Ex 8:16 – 9:35

Ex 10:1-29

Ex 11:1 – 12:28

Ex 12:29-51

15

Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

Spreading Pmegranate Tree

Sivan

Ex 13:1 – 14:14

Ex 14:15 – 16:3

Ex 16:4-27

16

Livnah - לבנה

White Brick

Tammuz

Ex 16:28 – 17:16

Ex 18:1 – 19:5

Ex 19:6 – 20:26

Ex 21:1 – 22:23

17

Rissah - רסה

Well Stopped Up With Stones

Av

Ex 22:24 – 24:18

Ex 25:1-40

Ex 26:1-30

Ex 26:31 – 27:19

18

Kehelathah - קהלתה

Assembly

Elul

Ex 27:20 – 28:43

Ex 29:1-46

Ex 30:1-38

Ex 31:1 – 32:14

19

Shapher - שפר

Beautiful

Tishri

Ex 32:15 – 33:23

Ex 34:1-26

20

Haradah - חרדה

Terror

Heshvan

Ex 34:27 – 35:29

Ex 35:30 – 36:38

Ex 37:1 – 38:20

Ex 38:21 – 39:32

21

Makheloth - מקהלת

Assemblies

Kislev

Ex 39:33 – 40:38

Lev. 1:1 – 3:17

Lev. 4:1-35

22

Tahath - תחת

Bottom

Tevet

Lev. 5:1-6:11

Lev. 6:12 – 7:38

Lev. 8:1 – 10:7

23

Terah - תרח

Ibex

Shevat

Lev. 10:8-20

Lev. 11:1-47

Lev. 12:1 – 13:28

Lev. 13:29-59

24

Mithcah - מתקה

Sweet Delight

Adar

Lev. 14:1-32

25

Chashmonah - חשמנה

Fruitfulness

Nisan

Lev. 14:33-57

Lev. 15:1-24

Lev. 15:25 – 16:34

26

Moseroth - מסרות

Correction

Iyar

Lev. 17:1-16

Lev. 18:1-30

Lev. 19:1-22

Lev. 19:23 – 20:27

27

Bene Jaakan - יעקן בני

Wise Son

Sivan

Lev. 21:1 – 22:16

Lev. 22:17 – 23:14

Lev. 23:15-44

Lev. 24:1 – 25:13

28

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

Hole of the Cleft

Tammuz

Lev. 25:14-34

Lev. 25:35 – 26:2

Lev. 26:3 – 27:1

29

Yotvathah - יטבתה

Pleasantness

Av

Num. 1:1-54

Num. 2:1-34

Num. 3:1 – 4:16

Num. 4:17 – 5:10

30

Avronah - עברנה

Transitional

Elul

Num.5:11-31

Num. 6:1-21

Num. 6:22 – 7:47

Num. 7:48-89

Num. 8:1 – 9:23

31

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

Giant’s Backbone

Tishri

Num. 10:1 – 11:15

Num. 11:16-22

Num. 11:23 – 12:16

32

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

Sanctuary

Heshvan

Num. 13:1 – 14:10

Num. 14:11-45

Num. 15:1-41

Num. 16:1 – 17:15

33

Hor - הר

Mountain

Kislev

Num. 17:16 – 18:32

Num. 19:1 – 20:13

Num. 20:14 – 22:1

34

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

Shadiness

Tevet

Num. 22:2 – 23:9

Num. 23:10 – 25:9

Num. 26:52 – 27:14

35

Punon - פונן

Perplexity

Shevat

Num. 27:15 – 28:25

Num. 28:26 – 30:1

Num. 30:2 – 31:24

Num. 31:25-54

36

Oboth - אבת

Necromancer

Adar I, II

Num. 32:1-42

Num. 33:1-56

Num. 34:1- 35:8

Num. 35:9 – 36:13

Deut. 1:1 – 2:1

37

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

Ruins of the Passes

Nisan

Deut. 2:2-30

Deut. 2:31 – 3:22

Deut. 3:23 – 4:40

38

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

Sorrowing Overcomers

Iyar

Deut. 4:41 – 6:3

Deut. 6:4 – 7:11

Deut. 7:12 – 8:20

Deut. 9:1-29

39

Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

Cake of Pressed Figs

Sivan

Deut. 10:1 – 11:9

Deut. 11:10 -12:19

Deut. 12:20 – 13:19

Deut. 14:1 – 15:6

40

M’hari Abarim - מֵהָרֵי הָעֲבָרִים

Mountains of the Passes

Tammuz

Deut. 15:7 – 16:17

Deut. 16:18 – 17:13

Deut. 17:14 – 18:13

Deut. 18:14 – 20:9

Deut. 20:10 – 21:9

Deut. 21:10 – 22:5

Deut. 22:6 – 23:9

41

Moab - מואב

Mother’s Father

Av

Deut. 23:10-21

Deut. 23:22 – 24:18

Deut. 24:19 – 25:19

Deut. 26:1 – 28:14

Deut. 28:15 – 29:8

42

Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית

House of The Desolaton

Elul

Deut. 29:9 – 30:10

Deut. 30:11 – 31:13

Deut. 31:14-30

Deut.32:1-52

Deut. 33:1 – 34:12

Gen. 1:1-5

 


 

In Targum Yonatan

 

#

Camp

Meaning

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan

 

1

Succoth - סכת

a place where they were protected by seven glorious clouds

 

2

Etham - אתם

on the side of the wilderness

 

3

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

which lie in front of the idol of Zephon

 

4

Marah - מרה

 

“And they came to Marah and they could not drink water from Marah because they were bitter, therefore they called the name of the place Marah (from the word ‘mar’ -- bitter)” [Shemot 15:23]

5

Elim - אילם

There were twelve fountains of water for the twelve tribes, and seventy palm trees, answering to the seventy sages; and they encamped there by the waters

 

6

Reed Sea - סוף ים

 

 

7

Sin - סין

 

 

8

Dophkah - דפקה

 

 

9

Alush - אלוש

Kerak Takiph (the strong tower)

 

10

Rephidim - רפידם

their hands were (raphin) neglectful of the words of the law.

 

11

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

 

 

12

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

Graves of those who desired flesh

 

13

Chazeroth - חצרת

 

 

14

Rithmah - רתמה

the place of many juniper trees

 

15

Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

From rimmon, “a pomegranante

 

16

Livnah - לבנה

borders are built of bricks (Iibnetha)

 

17

Rissah - רסה

 

 

18

Kehelathah - קהלתה

 

 

19

Shapher - שפר

mountain whose fruit is good

 

20

Haradah - חרדה

confounded by the evil plague

 

21

Makheloth - מקהלת

the place of congregation

 

22

Tahath - תחת

 

 

23

Terah - תרח

 

 

24

Mithcah - מתקה

 

 

25

Chashmonah - חשמנה

 

 

26

Moseroth - מסרות

place of rebellion (or chastisement)

 

27

Bene Jaakan - יעקן בני

 

 

28

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

at the Rocks

 

29

Yotvathah - יטבתה

a good and quiet place

 

30

Avronah - עברנה

thence to the Fords

 

31

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

the tower of the cock

 

32

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

Iron Mount

wilderness of Zin, which is Rekem

33

Hor - הר

 

 

34

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

a place of thorns, and narrow (or squalid)

 

35

Punon - פונן

where the Lord sent burning serpents among them, and their cry went up to heaven.

 

36

Oboth - אבת

 

 

37

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

Ruins of the Passes

Passing Fords

38

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

the place of fortune

 

39

Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

the well was hidden from them, because they had forsaken the words of the law, which are as delicious as figs (diblatha)

 

40

M’Hari Abarim - מֵהָרֵי הָעֲבָרִים

Mountains of the Passes

 

41

Moab - מואב

 

 

42

Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית

 

 

 


 

In The Psalms

 

When King Solomon wished to comment on Bamidbar 33, he did so in Tehillim 106:19-27, according to the Triennial Torah lectionary.

 

#

CAMP

MEANING

PSALM 106

1

Succoth - סכת

Temporary Shelters

5. To look on the plenty of Your chosen ones; to rejoice in the joy of Your people; to join in praise with Your inheritance.

2

Etham - אתם

Contemplation

6. We have sinned, along with our fathers; we have committed iniquity, acted wickedly/ lawlessly.

3

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

Mouth of Freedom

7. Our fathers in Egypt paid no heed to Your wonders; they did not call to mind Your great goodness; and they rebelled against Your Word by the sea, at the sea of Reeds. 8. And He redeemed them for His name‘s sake, to make known His might. 9. And He rebuked the sea of Reeds, and it dried up; and He conducted them through the deeps, as in the wilderness. 10. And He redeemed them from the power of the foe; and He redeemed them from the power of the enemies. 11. And the waters covered their oppressors; not one of them was left.

4

Marah - מרה

Bitterness

12. And they believed in the name of His Word; they sang His praise.

5

Elim - אילם

Palm Tree

 

6

Reed Sea - סוף ים

Reed Sea

22. Wonders in the land of Ham, awesome things by the sea of Reeds.

7

Sin - סין

Desert of Clay

 

8

Dophkah - דפקה

Attack

 

9

Alush - אלוש

Wild

13. They quickly forgot His deeds; they did not wait for His counsel.

10

Rephidim - רפידם

Weakness

14. And they made a request and tested God in the place of desolation.

11

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

Hatred

15. And He gave them their request, and sent leanness into their souls.

12

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

Graves of Craving

16. And they were jealous of Moses in the camp, and of Aaron, the holy one of the Lord.

 

13

Chazeroth - חצרת

Courtyard

17. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram.

14

Rithmah - רתמה

Smoldering

24. And their soul was repelled by the desirable land; they did not believe His Word.

15

Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

Spreading Pmegranate Tree

 

16

Livnah - לבנה

White Brick

 

17

Rissah - רסה

Well Stopped Up With Stones

 

18

Kehelathah - קהלתה

Assembly

18. And fire burned in their company; flame will kindle the wicked/lawless.19. They made a calf in Horeb, and bowed down to something of metal. 20. And they exchanged the glory of their Master for the likeness of a bull that eats grass and befouls itself. 21. They forgot God their Redeemer who had done mighty works in Egypt.

19

Shapher - שפר

Beautiful

 

20

Haradah - חרדה

Terror

 

21

Makheloth - מקהלת

Assemblies

 

22

Tahath - תחת

Bottom

 

23

Terah - תרח

Ibex

 

24

Mithcah - מתקה

Sweet Delight

 

25

Chashmonah - חשמנה

Fruitfulness

 

26

Moseroth - מסרות

Correction

 

27

Bene Jaakan - יעקן בני

Wise Son

 

28

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

Hole of the Cleft

 

29

Yotvathah - יטבתה

Pleasantness

 

30

Avronah - עברנה

Transitional

 

31

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

Giant’s Backbone

 

32

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

Sanctuary

32 They angered Him also at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses because of them;

33 For they embittered his spirit, and he spoke rashly with his lips.

33

Hor - הר

Mountain

 

34

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

Shadiness

 

35

Punon - פונן

Perplexity

 

36

Oboth - אבת

Necromancer

 

37

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

Ruins of the Passes

 

38

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

Sorrowing Overcomers

 

39

Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

Cake of Pressed Figs

 

40

M’Hari Abarim - מֵהָרֵי הָעֲבָרִים

Mountains of the Passes

 

41

Moab - מואב

Mother’s Father

 

42

Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית

House of The Desolaton

28 They joined themselves also unto Baal of Peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.

29 Thus they provoked Him with their doings, and the plague broke in upon them.

30 Then stood up Phinehas, and wrought judgment, and so the plague was stayed.

31 And that was counted unto him for righteousness, unto all generations for ever.

 


For the next table, the following list will play a role:

 

Avot 5, Mishna 21

 

  1. At five years of age the study of Scripture;
  2. At ten the study of Mishnah;
  3. At thirteen subject to the commandments[226];
  4. At fifteen the study of Talmud;
  5. At eighteen the bridal canopy;
  6. At twenty for pursuit [of livelihood][227];
  7. At thirty the peak of strength;
  8. At forty wisdom;
  9. At fifty able to give counsel;
  10. At sixty old age;
  11. At seventy fullness of years;
  12. At eighty the age of “strength”;
  13. At ninety a bent body;
  14. At one hundred, as good as dead and gone completely out of the world.

 

Whatever happened to the people as a whole will happen to each individual. All the 42 journeys of the children of Israel will occur to each individual between the time he is born and the time he dies.[228]


Rabbi Jacobson

 

 

 

 

Rabbi Jacobson

 http://meaningfullife.com/spiritual/soul/42_Journeys.php

1

Succoth

Temporary Shelters

Sukkot means shelters, referring to the “clouds of glory” that sheltered and protected the people as they began their journey. On a personal level it refers to the shelters that (healthy) parents provide children in early age. Thus from Ramses (birth) we enter into the shelters of our nurturing homes and secure environments.

Surrounded within the “clouds” of a comfortable home cultivates a child’s self-confidence and helps him/her develop self-esteem to take on the challenges of the life journeys ahead outside the “clouds”.

2

Etham

From Them, or Their Plowshare - Contemplation

Etam, in ancient Egyptian, means “seashore.” Some identify Etham with the Egyptian Chetem, which denotes a fortress. After early childhood, when we are completely dependent on parents for sustenance and protection, we begin to emerge from the “fortress” as we start to develop a sense of independence. This stage is comparable to a “seashore,” a boundary between exploring the new world around us and scurrying back for approval and guidance from our parents. At this phase in our lives we are not yet quite thrown into the desert, yet we are its edge, as we become acquainted with an alien and insensitive world.

3

Pi Hahiroth

Mouth of Freedom

This location was named Pi-HaCheirus since it was here that the Jewish people became free people (cheirus means freedom in Hebrew) (Mechilta, Rashi Exodus 14:2). Baal Tzefon was an Egyptian deity.

In the next leg of our life journey, as we lose our childhood innocence and mature into adults, we begin to take on complex and paradoxical features: On one hand, we become free – independent adults, able to make rational decisions, driven not by childhood emotions but by sober reflection. But on the other hand, our newfound freedom also faces a looming “idol” in the north: we begin to be tempted by worship of false gods – self-worship, worship of money, power or other man-made deities.

As we grow through our development –this may be the essential goal of all education – we will have the option to become a towering force for good or a tower of vanity in our own eyes.

4

Marah

Bitter

The final stage of human maturation – as we move from our teenage years into full adulthood – is completely crossing over from the pure, inner world of “water” into the dry, arid world of the desert. Indeed, Moses had to coerce the Jews to away from the Red Sea out into the Shur Desert, where they traveled three days without finding water (Exodus 15:22). They didn’t want to leave the insulated “cocoon” of the Red Sea only to be thrown into a harsh and hostile desert, one that leads us into a state of bitterness (Marah). Yet, leave we must. This is the purpose of our existence: To transform the wilderness into a Divine sea (Ohr HaTorah Massei p. 1383).

Because of their bitter waters “the place was called Marah” (marah in Hebrew means bitter). When the Jewish people came to Marah and could not drink the bitter water there, they began to complain. “What shall we drink?” they demanded. When Moses cried out to G-d, He showed him a certain tree. Moses threw it into the water, and the water became drinkable. It was there that G-d taught them survival techniques and methods, and there He tested them. He said, “If you obey G-d and do what is upright in His eyes, carefully heeding all His commandments and keeping all His decrees, then I will not strike you with any of the sicknesses that I brought on Egypt. I am G-d who heals you.”

The journey to Marah refers to the stage in our lives when we encounter a bitter experience – loss, disappointment, pain, sorrow or illness. We then have two choices: Either we will complain, become bitter and overwhelmed with anguish and grief, or we will learn to rise to the occasion and discover the deeper powerful light and sweetness that lays embedded within the dark and bitter.

Therein also lays the power of healing: The ability to sweeten the bitter and to uproot infection in its source.

5

Elim

Palm tree

(eli mah) means the hidden dimension of love – twelve water springs and seventy palms (the secret and the hidden, sod in Hebrew, is gematria 70)

Elimah (or Elim) is the stage of growth and recognition of the deeper strength that emerges from bitter loss and pain. From Marah – after experiencing bitterness – we become empowered with the resources of Elimah: Elimah consists of the same letters as the name Elokim (which is written with a heh), only that the order of the letters (eli mah) means the hidden dimension of love – twelve water springs and seventy palms (the secret and the hidden, sod in Hebrew, is gematria 70) – that emerges from within the dark and the bitter (The Maggid of Mezritch – Ohr Torah Massei. Explained in Ohr HaTorah Massei pp. 1378. 1393. See Degel Machne Efraim).

6

Reed Sea

Reed Sea

Due to this heightened “Elim” awareness, we experience a moment of respite from the travails of the arduous journey through the wilderness. We “camp near the Red Sea” and bask in the rejuvenating power of water.

7

Sin

Desert of clay

But the journey to the Promised Land must continue through the difficult wilderness. And despite moments of respite, we will move on from the “Red Sea” to face new challenges of the Desert. The next few journeys reflect different, accelerating adversarial situations which will test our faith throughout our lives.

The Sin Desert represents the stage in life when we have our first crisis of faith, especially around the struggle to earn a livelihood. When the people arrived at Sin Desert (Iyar 15) they ran out of the food that they had brought with them from Egypt. They thus began to complain “If only we had died in Egypt! There at least we could sit by pots of meat and eat our fill of bread! But you had to bring us out to this desert, to kill the entire community by starvation!” The Divine response was to provide them daily with manna, “bread from heaven” and meat – which would last through the remaining 34 journeys. The manna teaches us that livelihood is a blessing from above; we must do our part, but ultimately we need to have faith and trust that Divine Providence will provide for our sustenance.

8

Dophkah

Knocking place

Dofkah is the place where their “hearts beat” (in fear) for lack of bread (Baal HaTurim). We will all go through a stage in life when our hearts pound in fear that we will suffer from deprivation of one need or another. Insecurity is very real part of living in a material world in which we are dependent on many things for our sustenance. But Dofkah (in Hebrew) also means “knocking:” Angst can be a powerful motivator to “knock” on the doors of opportunity, to “knock” on the doors of heaven, and dig deeper and discover inner resources.

9

Alush

Power - Wild place

Alush means power (it refers to a powerful city, or one built by a powerful person).  This symbolizes the stage in life when we rise to power – either at work or in another position of influence. Power is a double-edged sword, which can be used either toward achieving greatness or corruption. Some say that the manna began to fall in Alush, and that was where the Jewish people kept their first Shabbattwo Divine gift that empower us to access Heaven as we traverse the earthly wilderness.

10

Rephidim

Railing or balluster place (lax in Torah study) - Weakness

Refidim means weakness, referring to the stage of life when we experience an intense crisis of faith (greater than the one at the Sin Desert), questioning G-d’s presence amongst us. Refidim is a diminishing of spiritual commitment or passion (“their hands weakened from the words of Torah and the fulfillment of Mitzvot”). To the extent that Moses “named the place Testing-and-Argument because the people had argued and had tested G-d. They had asked, ‘Is G-d with us or not?’ (Exodus 17:7).

And when we are in this state of weakness we become vulnerable and open to attack from the powerful forces of doubt and apathy – “Amalek arrived and attacked Israel there in Refidim” (Exodus 17:8).

11

Desert of Sinai

Hatred

At the other end of the spectrum, we all have a stage in life when we experience revelation – a profound epiphany. We each have our “Sinai” moment – when we arrive and wake up to a new awareness, a heightened state of consciousness; when we feel G-d’s presence. One result of this revelation is harmony: It unites people “as one person with one heart” (such was the experience that took place when the people arrived at Sinai on the 1st of Sivan).

12

Kibroth Hattaavah

Graves of Craving

“Moses named the place ‘Graves of Craving’ (Kivroth HaTaavah), since it was in that place where they buried the people who had these cravings” (Numbers 11:34). This journey represents the times in life when you are consumed by the seductive power of lust and desire – when you become “buried by your own desires.”

The nature of craving and desire is such that left untamed turns into a fire that holds you hostage in its tentacles. This is the power of every addiction, in which your obsessions tragically dig your own grave.

On a positive note, the Baal Shem Tov (citing Brit Menucha by the 14th century Kabbalist Rabbi Avraham ben Yitzchak of Grenada) interprets the “Graves of Craving” as a state of utter self-nullification through cleaving to G-d when one  experiences the “death” of cravings, they become buried with no potential of reviving inappropriate desires. Perhaps this state can be accessed by people in recovery, who after hitting rock-bottom and losing control over their own lives to addiction, rehabilitate themselves by surrendering to a Higher Power which enables them to “kill” their desires.

13

Chazeroth

Courtyard

At this location Miriam slandered her brother Moses, and as a result was struck and was quarantined. Some say that in this place also Korach rebelled against Moses (Rashi Deuteronomy 1:1). This leg of the journey refers to the rebellious stage in our lives. In every generation – and in every soul – there is a “Moses” who serves as G-d’s messenger to help direct us in fulfilling our mission in life. We will have times when we rebel against the “Moses” – G-d’s chosen messenger – of our time and within, and thereby undermine our own destiny.

14

Rithmah

Desolation place

Rithmah (also known as Kadesh Barne’a) was the place from where the spies were sent to scout out the Land of Israel. They returned with a slanderous report, defaming the land and causing panic amongst the Jewish people. Hence, the place was named Rithmah, which in Hebrew means “broom” – the term used to describe an evil tongue (Rashi. Rokeach writes that Rithmah is the gematria of “loshon (ho)ra”): “What can He give you, and what can He add to you, you deceitful tongue? Sharpened arrows of a mighty man, with coals of brooms (retomim)” (Psalms 120:3-4). Some say that many broom (rothem) trees grew in this place (Targum Yonasan). Brooms – like a deceitful tongue – are leafless and tolerate, and often thrive best in poor soils and growing conditions. In cultivation they need little care.

The scouts betrayed the Promised Land. Whatever their intentions may have been (and they were indeed noble and spiritual), they defied the cardinal rule: Questioning the very purpose of life because of the difficulties that arise, we cannot conquer the land because it “consumes its inhabitants.” G-d gave us life and charged us with the mission to transform the material land into a sacred place. Our role is to figure out how best – not whether – to fulfill our mission.

We will face times of resignation in our life when we will be tempted to give up, and even to slander the “Promised Land” and the assurances that we can overcome any challenge. Such moments of self-doubt must be met with ferocious resistance never to give up on yourself, on your soul’s potential and on G-d who has endowed you with faculties to face any challenge.

15

Rimmon Perez

Spreading, or heavy fruited, Pomegranate Tree

Rimmon Peretz means a spreading pomegranate tree, or heavy fruited pomegranate (Targum Yonasan). With its many seeds the pomegranate is a symbol of abundant fruitfulness. This journey marks the stage in our lives when we begin to bear fruit – like a spreading pomegranate tree. Most literally this means when we bear children and build a family. In a broader sense, “fruit” denotes good deeds and mitzvoth, as well as students and others we influence and inspire.

16

Livnah

Brick

Livnah means bricks. This was a place where the boundaries were marked with building bricks (Targum Yonasan). Livnah can also be translated “to build.” This is the stage of life when we build a home, going hand in hand with the spreading family pomegranate tree (Rimmon Peretz).

17

Rissah

Well Stopped Up With Stones - ruin

Rissah (in Hebrew) means to be broken (see Baal HaTurim. Rokeach). In Arabic) the word denotes a well stopped up with stones. In our personal life journey we will inevitably experience (what may seem to us as) failure – a failed relationship, effort or venture, a bankruptcy or another type of fiasco.

Rissah is also an eyelid, related to vision (see Heichel HaBracha Kamarna) – to open you eyes and see a deeper opportunity which can only be visible through the cracks of a broken relationship or failed effort.

18

Kehelathah

Place of the assembly

Some say that this was the place of Korach’s rebellion (Targum Yonasan. Baal HaTurim. Rokeach). The emphasis here is on the word Kehelathah, a “gathering,” but in this context it refers to a group banding together in an aggressive fashion, like a lynch mob – as Korach did (Numbers 16:3; 19): Korach ganged his entire party against them (Moses and Aaron). There are two types of gatherings: Groups that join together to build, or to destroy.

We all have times in our lives when we will be invited, or pressured, to join a rally or a group. Being social creatures we need and gravitate to our peers. The power of a group and group mentality can be very alluring. It can feel safe and accepting, and when used for the good it can produce tremendous benefits. But when used for the bad it can yield devastating results – causing far more damage than any individual can perpetrate on his own. Great care therefore must be taken not to be party to “lynch mobs” or “witch hunters” who gang up on others, often innocent people, in their own insecure need to feel right. Stay away from groups of nay-sayers and critics. Always join an assembly of sages and not cynics. When two people meet and they do not say something meaningful to each other, do not share words of Torah, it they are considered “a company of scorners;” when they do the Divine presence rests amongst them (Avot 3:2).

19

Shapher

Beauty

Another leg of our life journey consists of our travels to beautiful places in the world. Mount Shefer means “beautiful mountain,” or a “mountain with beautiful fruit” (Targum Yonasan). How will we use the inspiration we gain from nature’s beauty? Will it be a temporary joy that only affects you, or will it have a perpetual effect and inspire you to bring beauty to others?

20

Haradah

Great fear

Charadah – trembling – was so called due to the terror caused by the plague (Numbers 17:12. Targum Yonasan). Just as we experience beauty in our lives (Mount Shefer, Tiferet), we also, at times, sadly experience terror. This is the journey of fear in our lives; when “severities” (gevurah and din) are dominant (see Bechayei). Living in a perilous world, whose “roads are all prone to danger,” we all will endure experiences that cause us to shudder. The critical thing to always remember, even in the most frightening and anxious moments, is that fear is also part of the journey toward the Promised Land. When harnessed we can find solace (“camp”) in our shudders, as they sharpen our alert, focus our vigilance and teach us how to avoid or conquer the agents of fear. By not allowing our fears to consume us, we can learn to see them through, transform them to awe of the Divine and come out more powerful (see Kedushas Levi). That which does not destroy us makes us stronger.

21

Makheloth

Place of the assemblies

Mak’heloth is a place of assembly (Targum Yonasan), possibly the place where the miracle of Aaron’s rod occurred in response to Korach’s challenge. This reflects the community building journey in our lives, when we build – or join – a community; when we assemble a group toward a particular cause or effort. Mak’heloth is a state of unity – when we feel connected with other and with ourselves, and together we serve a higher purpose (as in the psalm (68:27) b’Mak’heloth – in full assemblies – they praised G-d). The ultimate transformation of fear (Charadah) is when it leads us to gather, appreciate and sing praise for our Divine blessings (see Baal Haturim).

22

Tahath

Bottom

Yet, the cycles of life are such that we move from high to low.Tachath means “below,” referring to a lowly state, the lowlands ofMak’heloth (Targum Yonasan). Tachath are the low-points and downers in life. Some of these low-points follow success. This downward journey – which comes just after the mid-way point of the 42 journeys – may also refer to the middle-age blues. Another application of Tachath is the depths we fall to when we “leaveMak’heloth,” i.e. forsake and abandon unity (Chasam Sofer). Yet, we have the power to transform Tachath into a place of peace, when we each dwell “beneath (tachath) our vine and fig tree” (see Toldos Yaakov Yosef).

23

Terah

Ibex place

Terach is the name of Abraham’s father, which comes from the word “wild goat” or “old fool.” Terach is also related to the word boiling (rotach), as in irate; with Terach’s birth G-d became irate over the idol worshippers (Midrash Aggada Genesis). Another meaning of the word Terach is wait or delay (Rokeach). Terach refers to the stage in life when we move into middle-age and become fathers of our children. Will we yield children like Abraham? Will we be like “wild goats” and “old fools” worshipping one idol or another, or will we be wise and give off a spiritual aroma (Terach from the word re’ach, the scent of Torah and Mitzvot – Yalkut Midrashei Teiman)?

24

Mithcah

Sweetness

From Terach we camp in Mithkah, a place of sweetness, with good fresh water (Targum Yonasan), the stage in life when we experience the sweet nachas from seeing the fruits of our labor – as in grand-parenting or other life achievements. This sweetness is even more profound because it follows and transforms the bitterness of life (see journey 5).

25

Chashmonah

Fruitfulness

Chashmonah means ambassador, referring to the journey in life when we serve as an envoy or emissary representing a particular cause. It can also include a time when we assume a mature position of leadership and influence – usually later in our lives.

26

Moseroth (Maserah)

Correction

Moseroth (from the word mussar) means chastisement. This place is later called Aaron’s burial place (Deuteronomy 10:6), because they grieved from him here (Rashi ibid 7. See Ramban ibid 8. Malbim Numbers 20:29). This refers to the journey and stage in life when we have the wise experience to counsel others and offer constructive criticism and rebuke (“at age fifty for counsel” – Avot 5:24).

27

Bene Jaakan

Narrow Path

Benay Yaakan literally means the sons of Yaakan, grandson of Seir (Genesis 36:27). It is also translated as “wells of distress” (Targum Yonasan), a place that is “narrow, confined and tight” (commentary Yonasan). This journey – which is also connected to the passing of Aaron (see Deuteronomy 10:6 and Rashi) – refers to the distress and limits that come with older age: Health issues, infirmity and the general physical decline associated with aging; both the agony for the aged one as well as for his/her family and friends as they see him/her waning. Yet, this stage too can be transformed into a very fruitful one, by learning to appreciate and connect with a deeper aspect of the aged one – the wisdom and experience that comes with the years, as the next journeys celebrate.

28

Char Haggidgad

Hole of the cleft

Chor HaGidgad – hole or clefts of Gidgad (Targum Yonasan) – refers to the head (gidgad) with its various cavities (see Arizal – Sefer Ha’Likkutim Massei). In psychological terms this journey denotes sagacity and wisdom that comes with ripe age, “many years bring wisdom” (Job 32:7).

29

Yotvathah

Pleasantness

Yatvathah means a “good, calm place” (Targum Yonasan), a “good, rich place” (Rokeach), an area of flowing brooks (Deuteronomy 10:7). This refers to the deep calm that comes with seasoned wisdom (see Arizal ibid). As the Talmud writes: “the minds of elderly scholars become more settled with age” (Kinim 3:6).

30

Avronah

Transitional

Avronah is a “river crossing,” a “ford” (Targum Yonasan). It means to “pass through,” referring to the journey of life called transition – the transition into old age. Avronah also alludes to the transient material universe, how short-lived and ephemeral life truly is – an awareness that comes with age. Yet, through our acts of virtue and kindness, through the people we inspire and touch, we have the power to transform the fleeting life into a permanent and eternal force that perpetuates forever. This is the meaning of “they leftYatvathah and camped in Avronah:” upon birth we leave the “good and calm” of the spiritual worlds and enter the turbulent, insecure life of this physical world. Yet, through spiritualizing our lives we carry the “good and clam” of Yatvathah and “camp” peacefully even in Avronah (see Pri Megadim, responsa 1:3).

31

Ezion Geber

Giant’s backbone - Rooster’s crow

Etzyon Gever means the “rooster’s crow” (Targum Yonasan), or the “wisdom of the rooster.” Masters proficient in the rooster’s wisdom lived in this place. “This wisdom is a deep secret, because it has the power to perceive the difference between day and night” (Tzioni. Rokeach). As the Talmud says, when you hear the rooster’s call say the blessing “Blessed is He who gave the rooster perception to distinguish between day and night” (Berachos 60b).

Life is made up of light and dark, day and night – bright times of clarity, hope and joy, and dismal times of confusion, defeat and sorrow. The purpose of darkness – and the ultimate achievement of life – is our power to transform night into light. But one of the great challenges that makes this effort difficult is the blurring of the boundaries between the two: darkness has the insidious ability to seep into our brighter moments and cast its dark shadows even on our most illuminating life experiences. It would be one thing if we were able to compartmentalize a negative experience, but not when it spills over and pollutes our good times, undermining our confidence and self-esteem to gather strength and move on. On the other hand, we also need to know how to give pain its due and allow it to go its course and dissipate, before we attack and transform it.

Etzyon Gever in our lives is the point we reach in our journey when we learn the art of perception, the secret to discern day from night; when we becomes masters to know the precise moment when to send out a wake-up call; when to begin the process of drawing light into darkness and transforming night into day. This perception requires profound insight, a sensitive heart and an uncanny sense of timing (Ohr HaTorah Massei pp. 1360. 1394. 1411).

32

Kadesh (Rekem)

Sanctuary

Tzin and Kadesh are so called because here the people “were commanded” (tzin form the words tzav, command) and here they “were sanctified” (Talmud, Shabbos 89a). Kadesh is an eventful location: In this place Miriam passed away (Numbers 20:1), and the incident of the “Waters of Strife” happened (ibid 20:2-13): After the water from Miriam’s well ceased flowing (due to her death) and the Jews complained that they had no water, Moses fatefully struck the rock instead of speaking to it, which brought upon the sad decree that Moses and Aaron would not enter the Promised Land. This is another reason that this location was called Kadesh, because G-d was sanctified in this place (Bamidbar Rabbah 19:14; TanchumaNumbers 11).

What this means in our life journey is a challenge to our commitment. There will be consequential times – due to excessive circumstances (a death, a major change, a transition) when everything we believe in will be on the line. We then have the choice: Will we sanctify G-d’s name or not?

33

Hor

Mountain of mountains

Hor HaHar was a double mountain – “a mountain atop a mountain, like a small apple on top of a big apple” (Bamdibar Rabba 19:16. Rashi Numbers 20:22). Aaron passed away and was buried on this double mountain.

Despite the sorrow connected with Aaron’s death, Aaron was remembered mourned and missed for his great love of all people, which is why the “entire of Israel” – both men and women – wept for him, because “Aaron pursued peace, and did everything possible to reconcile and bring love back between adversaries and between husband and wife” (Rashi 20:29).

A mountain symbolizes love. Like a powerful mountain rising into the heavens, love lifts us up and allows us to soar. Love is always yearning, reaching, like a mountain, to the skies.

Aaron was buried appropriately in a place that reflected his essential nature – a double mountain: Not just love, but love on top of love (ahava rabba, great love – Likkutei Torah Nasso 21a) – Aaron went out of his way, beyond the letter of the law, to cultivate love and engender harmony wherever he went.

Aaron’s love is the reason that in his merit the people were surrounded and protected by the “clouds of glory” through their difficult journey in the wilderness: These clouds are like a nurturing embrace of a mother clutching and engulfing her child with love and affection, protecting the child from all threats. After Aaron’s passing, this love ceased and the clouds departed (only to return in the merit of Moses). With this protection gone, the Canaanite King of Arad felt that he can attack the vulnerable nation (Rashi Numbers 21:1; 33:40).

Hor Hahar, then, in our personal life is the journey of love – the efforts we invest in loving another and bringing love into this divisive and aggressive world (“at the edge of the land of Edom”), embracing all human beings regardless of background. The love that is often appreciated once it is absent – as it was after Aaron’s death – when we realize what we are missing. However, in our life journey we need not wait for loss to cherish and propagate love all around us. Unconditional love is the greatest defense and immunization against predators.

*  *  *

At this point, following Aaron’s death and the departure of the protective “clouds,” the Jews, swept by fear, retreated eight journeys, all the way back to Moseroth, until the Levites compelled them to return on track (Rashi Deuteronomy 10:6).

In our lives we will have setbacks. There will be times – and journeys – when we panic. Overtaken by fear, we regress. Despite our progress we retreat and give up valuable ground that we worked hard at gaining. We mist know that this too is part of life’s real journeys. Never be discouraged; even our retreats are challenges that can be converted into opportunities which are part of the journey that helps thrust us forward.

The next few journeys are the harshest ones: The people were worn out from wandering for so many years in a desolate wilderness. And as their journeys continue to mount, and witnessing the death of Aaron, they finally break down and feel deeply estranged from the Divine hand.

So too in our life’s journey, as the years wear on, old age brings with it many maladies and the resulting resignation. After years of wandering in the “wilderness” of our lives, it’s natural that the journey will take its toll.

 

34

Tzalmonah

Shadiness

Tzalmonah is rooted in the expression (Jeremiah 2:6) “eretz tziyoh v’tzalmoves,” the land of drought and the shadow of death, as in (Psalms 68:15) “becoming whitened from the dark shadows of exile” (Targum Yonasan. Rokeach). At this and the following location (Punon) the people began complaining again, which resulted in them being bitten by poisonous snakes (Numbers 21:4-9). From the time of Aaron’s passing (in journey 34 till journey 37), which reflected the decree that the entire generation would die in the desert, their impending death haunted the people causing them much distress (see Ramban Numbers 33:41).

As the shadows of old age creep up on us and death becomes more imminent, we can feel depressed and become irritable, complaining about everything. This leg of our life journey can be very disconcerting, and our petulance can be toxic, bringing on further problems. As this stage in life, we must muster the strength to overcome our personal discomforts and fears and realize thatTzalmonah is also part of our journey toward the Promised Land. The aging process poses many challenges; but it also presents many opportunities to use the wisdom and experience you have gained to guide and inspire the next generation.

35

Punon

Perplexity

Punon is so named due to the fact that in this place the people were bound (punon meaning “directed”) to die from the bites of the fiery snakes (Rokeach. see Targum Yonasan). Punon in Greek means death (Lekach Tov Numbers 21:10). Another opinion is that Punonrelates to the banner upon which Moses placed the copper snake which healed the people (Numbers 21:9).

Punon is one of the last legs of life’s journey – the journey of disease and death. Yet it also includes the power of healing from disease: After Moses beseeched G-d on behalf of the stricken people, G-d said to Moses, “Make yourself the image of a venomous snake, and place it on a banner. Everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live. Moses made a copper snake and placed it on a high pole. Whenever a snake bit a man, he would gaze at the copper snake and live.” This is the power of transformation: the very toxic serpent that poisoned the people became their healer.

The choice is ours: Through our prayers we have the power to transform disease and death into agents of health and life.

36

Oboth

Necromancer

Ovos means enemies, “the people became enemies of G-d” in this place, due to all their weary travels in the wilderness (Bamidbar Rabba 19:24 and in ma’harzav). Others say (Rokeach) that the place was thus called because of the sorcerers that were there (ovos are mediums involved in necromancy).

This journey refers to the time in life when we get angry and become enemies of everything G-d stands for. When we lose out faith, due to the arduous travels, and are unable to get beyond our own pain.

37

Iye Abarim

Ruins of the Passes

From Ovos things just continue to get worse. They arrive at Iyay Ha’avarim, literally: the desolate passes. Rashi says that iyay means “ruins.” Ha’avarim is from the word aveirah, sinspiritual displacement (ha’varah, moving away). Thus Iyay Ha’avarim can be translated the ruins of sin, or the ruins of displacement.

Whenever you feel disconnected or lost you are going through this journey. An aimless life is a desolate one. Nothing is being built; every effort ends up going nowhere. The antithesis of displacement is feeling like you belong and you are connected; you sense that your life has purpose and that you are building something everlasting, reflecting your indispensable contribution.

38

Divon Gad

Sorrowing overcomers

Divon Gad means a place of good fortune (Targum Yonasan. Rokeach). When the tribe Gad was born to Zilpah – after Leah saw that she was no longer having children – Leah exclaimed “mazal tov (good fortune) has come,” and she thus named the new child Gad(Genesis 30:11 and Rashi). The children of Gad were also powerful people who were triumphant in their battles conquering the Promised Land, as it says “Gad, a troop shall press upon him, but he shall press upon their heel” (Genesis 49:19). Rashi interprets: “Gad, troops will troop forth from him” (over the Jordan River to conquer the Land) and he will triumph “without losing a man” (see Bechayei Genesis 30:11).

Some say that Divon Gad was located on Zered Brook (Baaley Tosafos; Chizkuni Numbers 21:12), where the decree that the Jewish people would die in the desert came to an end (Deuteronomy 2:14). The end of this decree was celebrated as a day of “good fortune” by the Jews and they turned this day into a holiday – the fifteenth of Av (Taanis 30b).

The Zohar (I 244b) says that “the conjunction of the two letters gimmel and dalet (gad) indicates the issuing forth of troops and hosts, gimmel giving and dalet receiving. That river which perennially flows from Eden supplies the needy, and therefore many hosts and many camps are sustained from here; and this is the significance of the name Gad, one producing and giving, and the other collecting and taking.” Gad denotes the power of “gomel dalim” – sustaining the needy, helping the poor and downtrodden, transmitting light to dark places (see Ohr HaTorah Vayechi pp. 382a. Heichel haBrocho Kamarna Massei).

Divon Gad then represents the good fortune stage in our lives when we have triumphed in our battles and prevailed in dire circumstances and now arrive at the end of the process (or the end of life). This good fortune, however, comes with mixed feelings. It is definitely worthy of celebration, but at the same time we also cannot ignore the hard battles and sad deaths up till this point, and that Moses and the generation that left Egypt would not enter, at that point, the Promised Land. Yet, their children will and they will ultimately be reunited with Moses and his generation – thus redeeming all the pain.

Elijah the prophet, who is called “mevaser tov,” the bearer of good news, is from the tribe of Gad. Elijah will be the one that announces the good news that after our backbreaking journeys Moshiach and the Redemption have finally arrived.

In personal terms, Divon Gad, is the life stage when we recognize and acknowledge the blessings of good fortune in our lives. Despite all the setbacks and struggles, notwithstanding the “desolate passes” (in the previous journey), we have refined and elevated the “wilderness” and have arrived with many gifts. We have learned to sustain and nurture (gimmel) the barren and the impoverished (dalet).

39

Almon Diblathaim

Cake of pressed figs

Almon Divalthaymah is translated as “hidden sweetness” – “the place where the well was concealed from them because they forsook the Torah which is compared to sweet pressed figs” (Targum Yonasan. Rokeach). Some say that this place had many streams where chestnuts and figs grew (Lekach Tov Numbers 21:19).

The mystics explain that Almon Divalthaymah is a state of concealment (Almon from the root he’elem, hidden), referring to the overwhelming existential loneliness that we are all subject to in our lives. How often do we wonder “Am I alone in this world?” “Does G-d hear my prayers?” In fact, however, this feeling of isolation, as real as it may seem to us, is only due to our limited perception. King David teaches us a powerful lesson in this regard.

When David was escaping the wrath of King Saul, he tells his dear friend Jonathan (son of Saul) that as the “new moon” arrives he will go “hide in the field” (Samuel I 20:5). They then agree upon a sign to determine whether David must continue to hide from the pursuing Saul, or he can come out of hiding. When David’s seat will be empty during the meal of the “new moon” and Saul will inquire about his whereabouts, Jonathan should gauge from his father’s reaction whether Saul still wants to kill David or he will leave him me be in peace. Once Jonathan determines Saul’s state of mind, he will come out to the field where David was hiding and “I will shoot three arrows… as if aiming at a mark. And, behold, I will send a lad, saying: ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say expressly to the lad, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come, for it is safe for you and, as G-d lives, there is nothing to fear. But if I say thus to the youth, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ go your way, for G-d has sent you away. And concerning the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, G-d be between you and me forever.’”

Once Jonathan saw how his father, Saul’s anger had not subsided and he wanted to kill David more than ever, “in the morning, Jonathan went out into the field at the time prearranged with David, and a little lad came with him. He said to his lad, ‘Run, find the arrows which I shoot.’ The lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. When the lad reached the place where Jonathan had shot the arrow, Jonathan said to him, ‘Is not the arrow beyond you?’ And Jonathan cried after the lad, ‘Hurry, be quick, do not stay.’ So Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. But the lad did not know anything; only Jonathan and David knew the matter… As soon as the lad had gone, David came out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, bowing three times. They kissed one another, and wept together, until David exceeded. Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, seeing that we have both sworn in G-’s name, saying, ‘G-d be between me and you and between my offspring and yours forever.’” (Samuel I 20:20-23; 35-41).

In a very moving fashion the Arizal (Likkutei Torah Samuel) explains this account as the story of our lives, especially during the dark years of exile, and how it leads to the ultimate redemption. David’s concealment symbolizes the hiding from that we all have to go into from the forces that want to harm us. Jonathan represents the voice of hope and clarity: “I will shoot three arrows… as if aiming at a mark. And, behold, I will send a lad, saying: ‘Go, find the arrows.’” – the three arrows represent the sharp tools we use to hit our mark and refine the material universe. “If I say expressly to the lad, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come, for it is safe for you and, as G-d lives, there is nothing to fear” – we have reached the point when our “arrows” have integrated matter and spirit, and we no longer have to hide our souls from predators. “But if I say thus to the youth – and here the verse uses the world “elem” (instead of “na’ar), denoting a state of concealment – ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ go your way, for G-d has sent you away” into exile. Sadly, you must remain in hiding and the concealment may even intensify due to the sorry state of a corrupt world.

But the story does not end on this low note. Here the verse continues – and listen to the Arizal’s powerful interpretation: “But the lad did not know anything; only Jonathan and David knew the matter.” The young immature lad cannot see through the concealment, he cannot discern that G-d remains with us even in the darkest moments. Only Jonathan and David “knew the matter” – the truth of the matter, that we never are alone, even when we are in hiding: “And concerning the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, G-d be between you and me forever.”

Armed with this faith and confidence, the story concludes that David and Jonathan embraced and cried together – “David came out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, bowing three times. They kissed one another, and wept together” – these are the outpouring prayers and tears we shed beseeching G-d to deliver us from hiding, prayers that will be fulfilled with the coming of Moshiach ben David – “until David exceeded” and achieves greatness.

This connection gives us the power to transcend the pain and the loneliness – knowing as Jonathan said to David: “Go in peace, seeing that we have both sworn in G-d’s name, saying, ‘G-d be between me and you and between my offspring and yours forever.’”

He 40th journey, Almon Divalthaymah, refers to this existential concealment, which captures one of the greatest challenges throughout all the 42 journeys in the wilderness: will we be able to hold on to the faith and recognize that we even in the arid desert we are traveling toward the Promised Land? Almon Divalthaymah tells us that within the hidden lies enormous reservoirs of sweetness, which we can access by not being myopic children (“the lad did not know anything’), but exerting ourselves to see beyond the shrouds and “know the matter” (Heichel haBrocho Kamarna).

Almon Divalthaymah thus reflects the stage in our lives – usually one that comes with later years or when we are about to reach the end of a long process – when we are faced with this challenge, like a spiral staircase: as we get closer to the summit, to the destination, we must make on final 180 degree turn, which utterly obliterates and conceals the destination, though we are only one step from it.

Don’t be deceived by the dark moment. See it through.

 clarity: “I will shoot three arrows… as if aiming at a mark. And, behold, I will send a lad, saying: ‘Go, find the arrows.’” – the three arrows represent the sharp tools we use to hit our mark and refine the material universe. “If I say expressly to the lad, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come, for it is safe for you and, as G-d lives, there is nothing to fear” – we have reached the point when our “arrows” have integrated matter and spirit, and we no longer have to hide our souls from predators. “But if I say thus to the youth – and here the verse uses the world “elem” (instead of “na’ar), denoting a state of concealment – ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ go your way, for G-d has sent you away” into exile. Sadly, you must remain in hiding and the concealment may even intensify due to the sorry state of a corrupt world.

But the story does not end on this low note. Here the verse continues – and listen to the Arizal’s powerful interpretation: “But the lad did not know anything; only Jonathan and David knew the matter.” The young immature lad cannot see through the concealment, he cannot discern that G-d remains with us even in the darkest moments. Only Jonathan and David “knew the matter” – the truth of the matter, that we never are alone, even when we are in hiding: “And concerning the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, G-d be between you and me forever.”

Armed with this faith and confidence, the story concludes that David and Jonathan embraced and cried together – “David came out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, bowing three times. They kissed one another, and wept together” – these are the outpouring prayers and tears we shed beseeching G-d to deliver us from hiding, prayers that will be fulfilled with the coming of Moshiach ben David – “until David exceeded” and achieves greatness.

This connection gives us the power to transcend the pain and the loneliness – knowing as Jonathan said to David: “Go in peace, seeing that we have both sworn in G-d’s name, saying, ‘G-d be between me and you and between my offspring and yours forever.’”

He 40th journey, Almon Divalthaymah, refers to this existential concealment, which captures one of the greatest challenges throughout all the 42 journeys in the wilderness: will we be able to hold on to the faith and recognize that we even in the arid desert we are traveling toward the Promised Land? Almon Divalthaymah tells us that within the hidden lies enormous reservoirs of sweetness, which we can access by not being myopic children (“the lad did not know anything’), but exerting ourselves to see beyond the shrouds and “know the matter” (Heichel haBrocho Kamarna).

Almon Divalthaymah thus reflects the stage in our lives – usually one that comes with later years or when we are about to reach the end of a long process – when we are faced with this challenge, like a spiral staircase: as we get closer to the summit, to the destination, we must make on final 180 degree turn, which utterly obliterates and conceals the destination, though we are only one step from it.

Don’t be deceived by the dark moment. See it through.

40

M’Hari Abarim

Mountains of the Passes

Now they arrive to the Avarim mountains, which Moses climbs to see the Promised Land, before he prepares to die and “be gathered up to your people” (Numbers 27:12-13. Deut. 32:49-50).

This is the final journey in all our lives (actually the next to final one) – the transition from life to death. Death obviously is terrible. It symbolizes an end – a disconnection. We associate it with a finality and permanence: We no longer can see and touch, speak and laugh with our loved ones whose souls have departed this plain. Even with deep faith in the soul’s immortality and continued eternal journey, death is absolutely devastating. Even if the soul can see us, we cannot see it.

Yet, yet… the journey does go on. As sad as Moses’ death was – symbolizing that the world remains in concealment – the mountain range is called Avarim, which means “passing through,” or “opposite of” (some say that they were called Avarim because they were opposite the crossing point to Jericho. Others explain that from its peak one could see the burial places of Aaron and Miriam – Zohar 3:183b; Bachya on 20:28, Deuteronomy 32:49).

Death is also a journey – a passage to another place. Though Moses went up the mountain and did not enter the Promised Land, his legacy remained eternal, and the next generation, trained and inspired by Moses, did indeed enter the Land, led by Moses loyal student, Joshua. And here we are today still telling the story, remembering and reliving Moses’ life and his teachings.

Here too we have the paradox of death coupled with knowing that this is a passageway (avarim), and the journey continues. Together with the sadness of Moses’ farewell, we are told that he climbs theAvarim mountains to look at the Promised land – a gaze of a holy man that actually affected and helped refine the land. And that Moses final passage was on Nebo, which consists of two words: nun (50) bo (within). Nebo refers to the 50th gate of wisdom that Moses attained as he climbed the mountain.

So, the journey to the Avarim mountains in front of Nebo, teaches us about our own transitions, especially considering that everyone has a “small Moses” within (Tanya ch. 42). And the challenge we have to balance the antithetical feelings death evokes about the demise of one stage leading and birthing another.

41

Moab

Mother’s father

In Hebrew b’Arvos Moab literally means in the “darkness” (“arvos” is night and darkness) of Moab – the final, harshest and most difficult of all the journeys in the wilderness (Likkutei Levi Yitzchak Igros, pp. 400). Arvos, however, also means sweetness, referring to the “transformation of bitter to sweet and darkness to light.”

The same dual application applies to Moab: Moab in Hebrew is me-av, meaning ‘from a father’. Spiritually this can have a dual manifestation: A father in the positive sense – a source of sanctity, or a father of evil. In Kabbalistic terms Av (father) is Chochma, which can be either Chochma of kedusha (positive energy), or Chochma of kelipah (negative energy). And these two meaning converge: Ruth came from Moab, and she was the ancestress of King David, and hence, of Moshiach.

Thus, camping b’Arvos Moab sums up the purpose of all the 42 journeys: To transform darkness into light, bitterness into sweetness.

In describing this final journey, the verse continues: On the Jericho Jordan. This refers to the level of Moshiach (Yarden Yereicho: morach v’doyin – Sanhedrin 93b. Likkutei Torah Massei). The Jordan (yarden in Hebrew) is channel that carries from one to another (Baba Metzia 22a), and is also the “lock-key to Israel” – the great revelation of light that is derived from the darkness of Moab.

The verse continues: There they camped along the Jordan from Beth HaYeshimoth to Avel Shittim on the West Plains of Moab – from the wasteland (yeshimonNumbers 21:20) to the desolate plain (Ramban Genesis 14:6) on the dark plains of Moab.

This final forty-second journey is the final stage of our life’s journey, which both sums up our lives as well as prepares for the transition to the next generation – the one that will enter the Promised Land. It thus describes the summation of all our life’s work – the transformation of a dark and difficult life, setting the stage for the next generation of “Jordan Jericho” – the Messianic redemption.

Our long journey through the wilderness of life – in all its 42 stages – is meant in order for us to tame and refine the world and transform it. This in turn gives us the power to enter the Promised Land – to self actualize and reach our land of promise.

All the 42 journeys are about freeing ourselves and transcending the constraints and limitations (Mitzrayim) of our material existence which conceals the Divine, subduing and sublimating the harsh “wilderness” of selfish existence, and discovering the “Promised Land” – a life of harmony between body and soul.

Just as the first journey was the exodus out of Egypt (Mitzrayim), each of us begins our life journey with birth – the liberation of the fetus from the confines of the womb, where it can develop and become an independent force that has the power to transform the world. The final journey brings us to the threshold of the total transformation of the universe into a holy and “Promised Land.”

Thus all the journeys reflect a dual quality: On one hand they are challenging and difficult experiences journeys. On the other, they all carry great promise and potential, as they allow us the opportunity to refine each of the respective 42 journeys, all leading us to the Promised Land.

This paradox is amplified in the final 42nd journey – the summation of them all, which captures reflects encompasses the entire paradox of life – on one hand the deep darkness, on the other – the power that it gives us to transform the darkness into light. Thus, all the terms used reflect these two extremes.

42

Beth Jeshimoth

House of the deserts

 

 

 

Birth Pangs

 

The forty years of journeys in the wilderness alude to the forty weeks of pregnancy. The forty-two journeys, over forty years, are a conception, pregnancy, and birth process.

 

This birthing allegory can be seen again in much the same way as part of the larger cycle of the forty years in the desert before entering the Land of Israel. These forty years correspond to forty weeks of pregnancy and the desert serves as the womb-like atmosphere conducive to growth. The manna, provided by HaShem in the desert, as well as the clouds of glory which protected them day and night, and the mysterious well that traveled with them, all represent a totally protected environment, much like the womb. Just as crossing the Reed Sea represents the birth of the nation, we can similarly relate to the crossing of the Jordan River and entering the Land of Israel after forty years in the desert in a similar manner. Each of the above birthing allegories works perfectly within its own context. The fact that one can see in so many different ways the same birthing theme shows its great importance.

 

There are different stages to the birth process. For the first few months, it is not even evident to the world that a woman may be expecting. Likewise, at the beginning of the development of Mashiach, it is not even apparent to the world that Mashiach has been conceived and is in the process of development on the way to birth. The world, including the Jewish people, just goes about its business as usual.

 

 

Camp

Meaning

Birth Process

 

F

I

R

S

T

 

T

R

I

M

E

S

T

E

R

Succoth - סכת

Temporary Shelters

Intercourse / implantation

 

Etham - אתם

Contemplation

Mood swings

 

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

Mouth of Freedom

Mentruation stops

 

Marah - מרה

Bitterness

Weight gain / nausea

 

Elim - אילם

Strong Man / Palm tree

Male sex differentiation

 

Reed Sea - סוף ים

Reed Sea

Amniotic sac / frequent urination

 

Sin - סין מדבר

Desert of thorn or Clay

Feet and hands develop

 

Dophkah - דפקה

Knocking / Attack

Heart begins beating / Headaches

 

Alush - אלוש

Powerful City - wild place

Neural tissue forming / Head

 

Rephidim - רפידם

Weakness

Fatigue

 

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

Hatred

Food aversions

 

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

Graves of Craving

Food cravings

 

Chazeroth - חצרת

Courtyards

Functioning placenta / breast enlargement

Baby bump.

 

Rithmah - רתמה

Wasteland – Smoldering

Headaches / emotional

 


After the first trimester, in general, it becomes apparent that a woman is expecting. Likewise, at a certain point in the development process of Msshiach, events occur to indicate that Msshiach is in the works. However, just as a woman can, God forbid, lose the child at any time, likewise, the Messianic process can slow down, or be temporarily aborted, because it is not yet time for him to come.

 

 

Camp

Meaning

Birth Process

 

S

E

C

O

N

D

 

T

R

I

M

E

S

T

E

R

Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

Spreading Pomegranate Tree

Weight gain / enlargement

 

Livnah - לבנה

White Brick

Bones forming

 

Rissah - רסה

Well Stopped Up With Stones

Breast enlargement / congestion

 

Kehelathah - קהלתה

Assemblies

Fine hair is forming

 

Shapher - שפר

Beautiful mountain

Hair growth

 

Haradah - חרדה

Terror

Shortness of breath

 

Makheloth - מקהלת

Assemblies

Quickening movement felt

 

Tahath - תחת

Lowlands

Frequent urination / constipation /

Varicose veins

 

Terah - תרח

Ibex

headaches

 

Mithcah - מתקה

Sweet Delight

Belly is more rounded / more interest in sex

 

Chashmonah - חשמנה

Fruitfulness

Vivid, lengthy dreams

 

Moseroth - מסרות

Chastisement

Leg cramps / pelvic area is heavy

 

Bene Jaakan - יעקן בני

Wells of the Narrow Path / distress

Uterous tightens

 

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

Hole or cleft of Gidgad

Baby practicing inhaling / belly button changes

 

 

 

The Mechilta says that the seferot HaOmer period was /is a nursing period, and that matan Torah was when we were weaned.

 

 


Then, as the baby grows to its full pre-birth capacity, the woman’s life revolves around the extra weight she is caring around, and the date she is due to give birth. It is not much different when it comes to history: as Mashiach comes close to arrival, the lives of many come to revolve around that time, and some literally adjust their lives in anticipation of the “delivery” date.

 

However, it is rare for a baby to be born smoothly, without much difficulty that is called chevlei leidah, birth pains. It is for many, without a doubt, the most difficult part of the birth process, and perhaps the most dangerous as well. One of the great ironies of life is how in the process of giving life to a new born baby the mother who bore it can lose her own.

 

Chevlei Mashiach is no different. As the time for Mashiach becomes more imminent, there is danger for the generation that gives birth to him. At the very least, there is pain, with times that look as if Mashiach is about to be born any second, only to see him swallowed up again as history “contracts,” seemingly pushing off his birth somewhat longer. Like the mother who has had enough and just wants to give birth already, the Jewish people sigh, and then are forced to prepare themselves for the next opportunity for his arrival.

 

 

 

Camp

Meaning

Birth Process

 

T

H

I

R

D

 

T

R

I

M

E

S

T

E

R

Yotvathah - יטבתה

Pleasantness

Fetal movement felt

 

Avronah - עברנה

A Good Calm place

Baby turns to head down position

 

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

Rooster’s crow /

Giant’s backbone

Back pains

 

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

Sanctuary

Baby’s head at the birth canal.

 

Hor - הר

Mountain of mountains

Rapid growth and belly enlargement

 

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

Shadiness

Baby’s eyes are open / pupils working

 

Punon - פונן

Perplexity

Back pain / heartburn /

 

Oboth - אבת

Necromancer

spotting

 

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

Ruins of the Passes

Braxton Hicks contractions

 

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

Place of fortune

Weight gain / water breaks

 

Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

Cake of Pressed Figs

Birth pangs / crazy dreams / pain and compression

Of torso and organs.

 

M’Hari Abarim - מֵהָרֵי הָעֲבָרִים

Mountains of the Passes

Birth

 

Moab - מואב

Mother Father

Parents introduce themselves

 

Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית

House of The Desolations

Expelling the placenta

 

 

Y Y Y

 


Silence

 

The astounding silence of Chazal, and the great Jewish commentators, on this section of Torah, suggests that great secrets are being concealed within this small passage. Just as it is the glory of HaShem to conceal a matter, so it is the glory of a king to search it out.[229] One of the ways to search out the secrets is to carefully note the clues provided by Chazal.

 

Nachmanides concludes his observations on this parasha with a most intriguing and esoteric comment: “Thus the writing down the journeyings was a commandment of G-d, either to show His mercy, or for a purpose the SECRET of which has not been revealed to us....”

 

One of the clues which is often quoted by modern commentators is the following Midrash:

 

Midrash Tanchuma, Mas’ei 3 This is comparable to a king whose child was ill, and he took him to another place to heal him. On their return journey, the father recounted all their stations: “Here we slept,” “Here we were cooled,” “Here your head hurt.” By the same token, G-d said to Moshe: Recount for them all the places where it was that they had angered Me.

 

One of the clues that can be gleaned from this Midrash is that there are three places mentioned:

  1. Here we slept.
  2. Here we were cooled.
  3. Here your head hurt.

 

The Admor M’Gur zt”l explains the deeper significance of these places: “Here we slept...” — on the morning of the giving of the Torah, the people over-slept, and Moshe had to run through the camp to rouse them from their slumber. “Here we got cold...” — Amalek, the arch-enemy of the Jewish People, “cooled” their ardor in the service of their Creator. “And here your head was hurting...” — (lit. you “doubted your head“) — in the incident of the golden calf you “doubted your head“, your doubted your leader Moshe, which showed a lack in the fundamentals of faith.

 

This suggests that our forty-two stages should be divided into groups of three. These groups of three will be demarked by the three attributes mentioned above.

 

Three conditions are necessary to create the possibility of free choice in the heart of man:

 

1. There must be a withdrawal of the Divine light and the creation of the “vacuum” that allows the existence of evil.

 

2. It is not enough that evil exist—it must also be equipped with the illusion of worthiness and desirability. If evil were readily perceived for what it is—the suppression of light and life—there would be no true choice.

 

3. On the other hand, an absolute vacuum would shut out all possibility for choosing life. Thus the vacuum must be mitigated with a glow, however faint, of the Divine light that empowers us to overcome darkness and death.

 

Therein lies the deeper significance of the three stations in the Midrash‘s metaphor, “Here we slept,” “Here we were cooled,” “Here your head hurt.”

 

1. “Here we slept” refers to the withdrawal of the Divine vitality in order to create the vacuum (tzimtzum).

 

2. “Here we were cooled” refers to the mitigation of the vacuum with a faint glow of Divine light.

 

3. And “Here your head hurt” is a reference to the many contortions that cloud our minds and confuse our priorities, leading to a distorted vision of reality and misguided decisions.[230]

 

In the following table, I have divided the forty-two stages into groups of three and I have attempted to mention each of the three attributes as found in each of the three camps. Please note that this will effectively divide the forty-two stops into fourteen sets of three, the same pattern we saw in the Ana Bekoach prayer.



Triplets

 

Since the forty-two letter name is divided into triplets, it is logical to suppose that the camps are also divided into triplets. This division may also yield interesting results (when finished).

 

#

Camp

 

 

1

Succoth - סכת

 

These three journeys take place while still within the borders of Egypt, during Pesach. We were still “owned “ by Paro.

2

Etham - אתם

 

3

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

 

4

Marah - מרה

 

Passover is over. The Bne Israel receive ten precepts here showing we are now “owned” by HaShem. Murmuring over the lack of water.

5

Elim - אילם

 

6

Reed Sea - סוף ים

 

7

Sin - סין

 

We arrive on Pesach sheni. The Bne Israel grumble about the lack of meat.

8

Dophkah - דפקה

 

9

Alush - אלוש

 

10

Rephidim - רפידם

 

Murmuring over the lack of water due to the lack of Torah study. Moshe strikes the rock to bring forth water. We receive the Torah.

11

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

 

12

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

 

13

Chazeroth - חצרת

 

Miriam and Ahron grumble against Moshe. The spies are sent out, entering Eretz Israel from the south.

14

Rithmah - רתמה

 

15

Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

 

16

Livnah - לבנה

 

White brick borders. Qorach‘s rebellion took place.

17

Rissah - רסה

 

18

Kehelathah - קהלתה

 

19

Shapher - שפר

 

 

20

Haradah - חרדה

 

 

21

Makheloth - מקהלת

 

 

22

Tahath - תחת

 

 

23

Terah - תרח

 

 

24

Mithcah - מתקה

 

 

25

Chashmonah - חשמנה

 

 

26

Moseroth - מסרות

 

 

27

Bene Jaakan - יעקן בני

 

 

28

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

 

 

29

Yotvathah - יטבתה

 

 

30

Avronah - עברנה

 

 

31

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

 

 

32

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

 

 

33

Hor - הר

 

 

34

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

 

 

35

Punon - פונן

 

 

36

Oboth - אבת

 

 

37

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

 

 

38

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

 

 

39

Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

 

 

40

M’Hari Abarim - מֵהָרֵי הָעֲבָרִים

 

 

41

Moab - מואב

 

 

42

Beth Jeshimoth - הישמת בית

 

 

 

The Camp:

 

tribes3


Bamidbar (Numbers) 2:2 “The Israelites are to camp around the Tent of Meeting some distance from it, each man under his standard with the banners of his family.”

 


Bamidbar (Numbers) 2:2 “The Israelites are to camp around the Tent of Meeting some distance from it, each man under his standard with the banners of his family.”

 

The following chart is from Aryeh Kaplan’s Living Torah:


tribesmar

The Tribes of Israel while marching:

 

The Omer

 

There is another way of looking at the sefirah. Since there are forty-two days between Pesach and Shavuot, we could present the sefirot which form our Omer count as beginning on the day after the seventh day of Pesach. The Sfat Emet points out that in addition to these forty-two journeys, there are an additional seven where the nation actually retreats to a previous encampment.

 

HaShem “turned the nation towards the way of the wilderness.”[231] All their meanderings, all their tests in that wilderness were part of a Divine plan for them to achieve full redemption through isra’usa delesasa. They left Egypt chamushim,[232] an allusion to the fifty times that yetziat Mitzrayim[233] is mentioned in Torah, which in turn alludes to their working their way past fifty aspects of Egypt’s poison. The 42 “journeys” enumerated at the end of Bamidbar invoke the same idea. Taken with the seven stops through which they doubled back between Hor HaHor and Moseirah, there were 49, alluding to the 49 days of Sefirah that form the body of the 50 day period of spiritual growth each year.

 

Here, too, the result that we seek comes only through isra’usa delesasa, through our own reaching within to find the substance with which to begin the battle. This is the meaning of those journeys.

 

The following chart illustrates the connection between the sefirat HaOmer and the wilderness camps in Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:


Camps & Sefirot

 

Sefirah

Meaning

Camp

Meaning

Chesed of Gevurah

Kindness of Strength

Succoth - סכת

Temporary Shelters

Gevurah of Gevurah

Strength of Strength

Etham - אתם

Contemplation

Tiferet of Gevurah

Beauty of Strength

Pi Hahiroth - החירת פי

Mouth of Freedom

Netzach of Gevurah

Splendor of Strength

Marah - מרה

Bitterness

Hod of Gevurah

Praise of Strength

Elim - אילם

Mighty men, Trees, Rams

Yesod of Gevurah

Foundation of Strength

Reed Sea - סוף ים

Reed Sea

Malchut of Gevurah

Kingdom of Strength

Sin - סין

Desert of Clay

Chesed of Tiferet

Kindness of Beauty

Dophkah - דפקה

Attack

Gevurah of Tiferet

Strength of Beauty

Alush - אלוש

Wild

Tiferet of Tiferet

Beauty of Beauty

Rephidim - רפידם

Weakness

Netzach of Tiferet

Splendor of Beauty

Desert of Sinai - סיני מדבר

Hatred

Hod of Tiferet

Praise of of Beauty

Kibroth Hattaavah - התאוה קברת

Graves of Craving

Yesod of Tiferet

Foundation of Beauty

Chazeroth - חצרת

Courtyard

Malchut of Tiferet

Kingdom of Beauty

Rithmah - רתמה

Smoldering

Chesed of Netzach

Kindness of Splendor

Rimmon Perez - פרץ רמן

Spreading Pomegranate Tree

Gevurah of Netzach

Strength of Splendor

Livnah - לבנה

White Brick

Tiferet of Netzach

Beauty of Splendor

Rissah - רסה

Well Stpped Up With Stones

Netzach of Netzach

Splendor of Splendor

Kehelathah - קהלתה

Assembly

Hod of Netzach

Praise of Splendor

Shapher - שפר

Beautiful

Yesod of Netzach

Foundation of Splendor

Haradah - חרדה

Terror

Malchut of Netzach

Kingdom of Splendor

Makheloth - מקהלת

Assemblies

Chesed of Hod

Kindness of Praise

Tahath - תחת

Bottom

Gevurah of Hod

Strength of Praise

Terah - תרח

Ibex

Tiferet of Hod

Beauty of Praise

Mithcah - מתקה

Sweet Delight

Netzach of Hod

Splendor of Praise

Chashmonah - חשמנה

Fruitfulness

Hod of Hod

Praise of Praise

Moseroth - מסרות

Correction

Yesod of of Hod

Foundation of Praise

Bene Jaakan - יעקן בני

Wise Son

Malchut of Hod

Kingdom of Praise

Char Haggidgad - הגדגד חר

Hole of the Cleft

Chesed of Yesod

Kindness of Foundation

Yotvathah - יטבתה

Pleasantness

Gevurah of Yesod

Strength of Foundation

Avronah - עברנה

Transitional

Tiferet of Yesod

Beauty of Foundation

Etzion Geber - גבר עצין

Giant’s Backbone

Netzach of Yesod

Splendor of Foundation

Kadesh (Rekem) - קדש

Sanctuary

Hod of Yesod

Praise of Foundation

Hor - הר

Mountain

Yesod of Yesod

Foundation of Foundation

Tzalmonah - צלמנה

Shadiness

Malchut of Yesod

Kingdom of Foundation

Punon - פונן

Perplexity

Chesed of Malchut

Kindness of Kingdom

Oboth - אבת

Necromancer

Gevurah of Malchut

Strength of Kingdom

Iye Abarim - העברים עיי

Ruins of the Passes

Tiferet of Malchut

Beauty of Kingdom

Divon Gad - גד דיבן

Sorrowing Overcomers

Netzach of Malchut

Splendor of Kingdom

Almon Diblathaim - דבלתימה עלמן

Cake of Pressed Figs

Hod of Malchut

Praise of Kingdom

M’Hari Abarim - מֵהָרֵי הָעֲבָרִים

Mountains of the Passes

Yesod of Malchut

Foundation of Kingdom

Moab - מואב

Mother’s Father

Malchut of Malchut

Kingdom of Kingdom

Beth Yeshimoth - הישמת בית

House of The Desolaton

 

 

 

 


Miscellaneous Ideas

 

Shavuot offering us an opportunity to examine and perfect another one of our 7x7 (49) emotional faculties. Interestingly, this correlates with the forty-two journeys, which correspond to the same emotional faculties, except that the journeys, which are a process of elevating the “wilderness,” we count only 7x6 (42) emotional faculties (not including malchut). The Omer counting, by contrast, is a process of drawing down and revealing the Divine, which is the role of the seventh faculty, malchut.[234]

 

Y Y Y

 

The Zohar understands the recounting of these forty-two stations on a mystical level. According to the Kabbalah, God brought the world into being by virtue of the first forty-two letters of the Torah, the forty-two building blocks or stages of creation. The forty-two stations of travel in Masei echo the genesis of the world and reflect a second process of creation, one that lasted forty-two years. In recounting the forty-two journeys, Moses now tells B’nai Israel that in fact, a new creation has occurred. The creation of the nation has paralleled the world.[235]

 

Y Y Y

 

The Sfat Emet writes something remarkable. These forty-two stations together with the eight stations that they backtracked on after the death of Aaron HaCohen[236] make a total of fifty desert stations. This corresponds to the fifty gates of understanding which are the opposite of the fifty gates of impurity into which the Children of Israel nearly sunk in Egypt. When they came out of Egypt they went up forty-nine levels during the forty-nine days of preparation which preceeded the giving of the Torah. Shavuot, the day of the giving of the Torah, was the 50th day. These fifty journeys represent an attainment of perfection similar to that which they attained at Mt. Sinai. Now they can approach Eretz Israel. (I think that it is for us like light at the end of the tunnel after the troublesome experiences in the desert which we read in the Book of Numbers.)

 

Y Y Y

 

Rabbenu Bachaye in his commentary on the Torah says that besides shedding light on what happened in the desert on the journeys, the account of the journeys and their stations has for us an additional benefit in that it gives us a glimpse into the future.

 

Paraphrasing an idea which is brought by the Ramban in his argument with Pablo Christiani and based on a little known Midrashic work, he says that the words of all the prophets allude to the fact that the final redemption of the Jewish people will be identical to the first one. Just as the Jewish people went out of Egypt into the desert, so in the future will Israel take to the desert.

 

They will travel to the same stations that Israel travelled to, after the Exodus. HaShem will sustain them and lead them as before. The final remaining sparks will be gathered up, the final healings completed and the redemption realized. The whole world will know that HaShem is Echad.

 

This is alluded to in the verse which twice mentions the word “mozta’eihem”, their stations. First it is written, “Moshe recorded the stations of their journeys...”. Then the verse says afterwards, “ ...these are their journeys between the stations.” The first mention of “mozta’eihem”, their stations, refers to the going out of Egypt, the second mention to the going out of this, the last of the bitter Exiles.

 

Since the Parsha begins by saying “Eleh” these are the journeys of the Children of Israel, is concludes by saying V’Elehand these are the journeys. Eleh comes to limit the scope of a subject -- these are the journeys that were. V’Eleh” comes to add on to what we already know, it refers to the journeys that will be, the journeys that await us at the end of our Exile, may it speedily come upon us.

 

Y Y Y

 

The record of our forty-two journeys through the desert corresponds to the twenty-one days and twenty-one nights of the three weeks between Tammuz 17 and Tisha B’Av, when this Torah portion is read in the Annual Torah cycle.

 

Y Y Y

 

Though this journey consists of forty-two stages, there is a distinction between the first twelve journeys, which were not led by the Holy Ark, and the following thirty journeys which were. Indeed, the Mishkan was first built after the 12th journey (Sinai).

 

Y Y Y

 

Each of the 42 months of the triennial cycle apply to the forty-two stages.

 

Y Y Y

 

I assume that there are two sets of “forty-two”. The first set will cover chapter 1 til 12:1. The second set will begin with Revelation 12:1.

 

Re 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

 

Re 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

 

1. Prologue (1:1-8) – Shabbat before Tisha B’Av

2. The Seven Mesages (1:9 - 3:22) – Yom Teruah

3. The Seven Seals (4:1 - 8:5)

4. The Seven Trumpets (8:2 - 11:19)

            12:6 = 1280 days

            13:5 = forty-two months.

            13:14 = time times and a half a times.

5. The Unnumbered Visions (12:1 - 15:4)

6. The Seven Bowls 15:1 - 16:21) - Babylon Appendix (17:1 - 19:10)

7. The unnumbered visions (19:11 - 21:8) - Jerusalem Appendix (21:9 - 22:5)

8. Epilogue (22:6-21)

 

Y Y Y

 

Jacob spent fourteen years in the academy of Eber.

 

Jacob spent fourteen years working for Rachel when Joseph was born.

 

Where is the third set of fourteen years?

 

Y Y Y

 

 

Y Y Y

 

This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address: gkilli@aol.com

Web page: http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

Return to The WATCHMAN home page

Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com


 

 

 

 

 



[1] There are 41 starting points; the 42nd location being the final destination, the plains of Moab.

[2] This is from R’ Moshe [Hadarshan]’s commentary.

[3] As found in the ana bechoach prayer.

[4] Zohar Hadash, Ma’amar 42 Journeys.

[5] Based on the Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh, The Malbim, Rav Shmuel M’Ostropole

[6] the “Bobover Rebbe”

[7] Likkutei Kerem Shlomo Vol. I

[8] Abarbanel

[9] The so-called ‘Old Testament’.

[10] From Yalkut Meam Loez, parsha Massey, page 394.

[11] Tzeror HaMor.

[12] Also referred to as Abudarham.

[13] Shemot 15:1-19

[14] Shemot (Exodus) 20:2-14 and Devarim (Deuteronomy) 5:6-18

[15] Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:1-49

[16] Code of Jewish Law: (Kitzur Shulan Aru). A Compilation of Jewish Laws and Customs By Solomon ben Joseph Ganzfried, Hyman Elias Goldin, Joseph ben Ephraim Karo.

[17] The term Mitzrayim (Egypt) derives from the word meytzarim (restrictions; restraints). Mitzrayim, therefore, refers not only to a particular land but also to a condition of both physical and spiritual confinement.

[18] Shemot 2:10

[19] Strong’s

[20] Ramban (Nachmanides) Commentary on the Torah – Numbers, translated and annotated by Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel.

[21] See above in Seder Naso, Note 146.

[22] Guide of the Perplexed III, 50. Ramban is using Al Charizi’s Hebrew translation from the Arabic [rather than Ibn Tibbon’s].

[23] Deuteronomy 29:5.

[24] Definitions are from Strong’s Concordance.

[25] Aryeh Kaplan, The Living Torah

[26] Young’s Analytical Concordance.

[27] Shemot (Exodus) 12:31

[28] This was 15 Nisan, 2448, or, according to Jewish tradition, March 25,1313 b.c.e.

[29] Shemot (Exodus) 14:8

[30] Shemot (Exodus) 12:29

[31] Shemot (Exodus) 12:12, 18:11, Isaiah 19:1.

[32] The city of Rameses was another name for the city of Goshen where the Jews dwelled during their extended stay in Egypt.

[33] The Living Torah, Aryeh Kaplan, On Numbers 33.

[34] Tosafoth HaShalem

[35] Shemot (Exodus) 9:26

[36] Judaica Press Books of the Bible: The Book of Genesis Vol. III – Mikraoth Gedoloth, Rabbi A. J. Rosenberg

[37] Shemot (Exodus) 1:11

[38] Bereshit (Genesis) 47:11, Shemot (Exodus) 1:11.

[39] Shemot (Exodus) 1:11

[40] Rashi

[41] The Living Torah: The Five Books of Moses And the Haftarot – Vol I: Genesis, By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.

[42] Rashi, Ibn Ezra on 46:1

[43] Targum Yonathan

[44] Ibid. 32 see note on Exodus 1:11

[45] cf. 45:10; Septuagint on 46:28

[46] Josephus, Contra Apion 1:14

[47] ibid 1:26

[48] Antiquities 2:7:6

[49] on Exodus 1:11

[50] cf. Ibn Ezra

[51] Ibid. 32 see note on Gen. 47:11; Herodotus 2:141

[52] The Living Torah: The Five Books of Moses And the Haftarot – Vol II: Exodus, By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.

[53] The Living Torah: The Five Books of Moses And the Haftarot – Vol IV: Numbers, By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.

[54] Mechilta

[55] Rashi; Ba’aley Tosafoth

[56] Targum Yonathan; Lekach Tov

[57] The Living Torah: The Five Books of Moses And the Haftarot – Vol I: Genesis, By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. See note on Genesis 30:36

[58] Ut supra, (antiqu. l. 2.) c. 15. sect. 1.

[59] If ETAM = SHUR, as is mentioned by Ibn Ezra on Shemot 15:22, then B’nai Israel returned to the same bank, making a semi-circle. See also Chizkuni on 14:23. The Zohar teaches that Shur means contemplation. On this and the identity of Etham and Shur, see the Call of the Torah by Rabbi E. Munk zatsal on Shemot 15:22.

[60] Shemot (Exodus) 13:20

[61] The Living Torah: The Five Books of Moses And the Haftarot – Vol II: Exodus, By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.

[62] The Living Torah: The Five Books of Moses And the Haftarot – Vol IV: Numbers, By Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.

[63] Rabbi Moshe Lieber. Gesenius suggests that it means “the mouth of caverns” (Gesenius’ Hebrew And Chaldee Lexicon, Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (Translator)).

[64] Yalkut Meam Loez, parsha Massey, page 394.

[65] Rashi on Exodus 14:2 in front of Ba’al Zephon [Only] this was left from all the Egyptian deities in order to mislead them [the Egyptians], so they would say that their deity is powerful. Concerning this [tactic] Job explained: “He misleads nations and destroys them” (Job 12: 23).-[from Mechilta]

[66] Ibid., page 401.

[67] Ibid., page 402.

[68] Rashi on Exodus 14:5 It was reported to Pharaoh He [Pharaoh] sent officers with them, and as soon as the three days they [the Israelites] had set to go [into the desert] and return had elapsed, and they [the officers] saw that they were not returning to Egypt, they came and informed Pharaoh on the fourth day. On the fifth and the sixth [days after the Israelites’ departure], they pursued them. On the night preceding the seventh, they went down into the sea. In the morning [of the seventh day], they [the Israelites] recited the Song [of the Sea (Exod. 15:1-18)]. Therefore, we read [in the Torah] the Song on the seventh day, that is the seventh day of Passover.

[69] Resurrection of the dead

[70] Exodus 15:1, Mechilta. Rashi. Perek Shira in Torah Shleimah

[71] See Mechilta, Beshalach as quoted by Rashi

[72] The Living Torah, Aryeh Kaplan, On Numbers 33.

[73] Ibid.

[74] Ibid

[75] Prohibition against traveling long distances on Shabbat.

[76] see Shemot (Exodus) 20:21

[77] see Shemot (Exodus) 15:25

[78] see Shemot (Exodus) 15:25

[79] Philo, Biblical Antiquities 11:15

[80] Arachin 15a

[81] Where the waters were found to be exceedingly bitter.

[82] Apart from that particular occasion Moses had no need to pray that God should sweeten that which was bitter.

[83] He prayed that their sin might be ‘ sweetened ‘, i.e. forgiven.

[84] (eli mah) means the hidden dimension of love – twelve water springs and seventy palms (the secret and the hidden, sod in Hebrew, is gematria 70)

[85] Shemot (Exodus) 15:27

[86] Seder Olam 5 teaches us that from this passage we learn that the Bne Israel only camped near water.

[87] Ramban (Nachmanides) Commentary on the Torah – Exodus, translated and annotated by Rabbi Dr. Charles B. Chavel.

[88] Deuteronomy 8:7

[89] Numbers 33:1-49. A detailed listing is given there of all the places through which Israel passed on the way from Egypt to the Promised Land.

[90] Ibid., Verse 9. Accordingly Ibn Ezra’s explanation that the springs and palm trees of Elim were mentioned here in order to contrast with Marah, where the waters were bitter, cannot be correct, because there in Eleh Mas’ei, Scripture states nothing about Marah and yet mentions the same about Elim as here.

[91] Sefer Habahir, 161. Another name for this Midrash of Rabbi Nechunya ben Hakanah is Sefer Habahir (Book of the Bright Light). It is one of the oldest books of the Cabala. See I. Weinstock, B’maglei Haniglah V’hanistar, pp. 15-20, on the origin of the names.

[92] See my Hebrew commentary, pp. 361-2, for further elucidation on this mystic matter.

[93] Red Sea in Hebrew is “Yam Suf – ים סוף”.

[94] Shabbath 87b

[95] ‘‘Ugoth’ are thin wafers, in the form in which unleavened bread is baked, and the Rabbis understood it to mean unleavened cakes.

[96] By a play on words Alush is derived from lushi. The manna was given to Israel in the wilderness of Sin (v. Ex. 16).

[97] Ibid. 49

[98] Numbers 33:10-11.

[99] Ibid., Verses 12-13. See Ramban further at beginning of Seder Yithro (Note 25) for how this explanation affects a major problem in Torah exegesis as to when Jethro came, i.e., before or after the Giving of the Torah.

[100] Ibid., Verse 14.

[101] Shemoth Rabbah 25:5.   

[102] Verse 2.

[103] Bamidbar (Numbers) 20:1.

[104] Ibid., 33:36.

[105] Shemot (Exodus) 16:1

[106] Shemot (Exodus) 12:2

[107] Shemot (Exodus) 16:3

[108] LAG BA'OMER — ITS OBSERVANCE, LAWS AND SIGNIFICANCE / A PRESENTATION BASED ON TALMUDIC AND TRADITIONAL SOURCES, by Rabbi Nosson Scherman / Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz general editors, compiled by Rabbi Shimon Finkelman, overview by Rabbi Nosson Scherman.

[109] Yalkut Meam Loez, parsha Massey, page 392.

[110] Baal HaTurim

[111] Targum Yonathan

[112] Targum Yonathan

[113] from: Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible by William Smith.

[114] Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:13.

[115] By a play on words Alush is derived from lushi. The manna was given to Israel in the wilderness of Sin (v. Ex. 16).

[116] Seder Olam, The Rabbinic View of Biblical Chronology, translated and with commentary by Heinrich W. Guggenheimer.

[117] The Living Torah, Aryeh Kaplan, On Bamidbar (Numbers) 33.

[118] Ibid.

[119] There is no water except Torah. Babba Kamma 82a

[120] Bechorot 5b

[121] Seder Olam 5, The Living Torah, Aryeh Kaplan, On Bamidbar (Numbers) 33.

[122] Ibid. 18

[123] Exodus 15:23-25

[124] Ibid., Chapter 16

[125] Ibid., 17:7.

[126] Ibid., Verse 6

[127] Ibid., Verse 8.

[128] Above, 16:1.

[129] Numbers 33:12-14.

[130] Verse 2.

[131] Such as above, 16:2.

[132] Verse 2.

[133] See Psalms 78:30.

[134] Further, Verse 7.

[135] See Judges 8:3.

[136] Verse 3.

[137] Ibid.

[138] Verse 4.

[139] Numbers 33:14.

[140] Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) explains this according to the Talmud (Shabbat, p. 89a)

[141] Seder Olam 8

[142] Seder Olam 5.

[143] Yalkut Meam Loez, parsha Massey, page 403.

[144] Seder Olam 8.

[145] The Ashlamatah is: Joel 2:16-24, 27. The Psalm is Psalm 99. The Nazarean Codicil is Mordechai 10:46-52.

[146] literally "burials of lust"

[147] The BritMenucha

[148] The Living Torah, Aryeh Kaplan, On Bamidbar (Numbers) 33.

[149] Seder Olam 8

[150] The Ashlamatah is: Joel 2:16-24, 27. The Psalm is Psalm 99. The Nazarean Codicil is Mordechai 10:46-52.

[151] Strong’s

[152] The Metsudah Chumash/Rashi

[153] Rashi indicates that the name was the result of the spies’ slander, as it is said, “what will He (God) give you (Tehillim 120:3-4), and what more will He add for you, O deceitful tongue? Sharpening warrior’s arrows with smoldering coals.

[154] The word “Barnea” is here allegorically interpreted to mean “one who wanders” (bar-na [v’nad]).

[155] Rashi, Midrash Aggada, Baal HaTurin.

[156] Seder Olam 8.

[157] Targum Yonathan

[158] Sefer HaYashar, Sh’lach

[159] Targum Yonathan

[160] The Living Torah, Aryeh Kaplan, On Bamidbar (Numbers) 33.

[161] Targum Yonathan

[162] Targum Yonathan; Septuagint;. See Ketoret HaSamim