Parshas Massei

Better Days Ahead

“Moshe wrote their going out to a journeys (motzaeyhem l'masayhem) at the bidding of Hashem, and these were their journeys to their goings out (masayhem l'motzaeyhem)” (Bamidbar 33:2).

When referring to the journeys in the dessert it is first written “motzaeyhem l’masayhem and the it is written masayheml’motzaeyhem; why were the words switched around? There are a number of lessons that are learned from this switch. I believe that during these trying times a valuable lesson can be learned from an moshel given by the Magid M'Dubno:

A year after his wife's passing, Reuven the cobbler, took a new wife. Unfortunately for Reuven's son, Shimon, the new wife was not a very good stepmother. For the next few years the stepmother made Shimon's life miserable. One day, Reuven came home and told his son to pack his bags, he found a shidduch for his son.

On the designated day a wagon driver came to pick up the father and son. A short time after they began their journey to the next province Shimon asked the wagon driver, "How far away have we travelled from home." In fact he asked the driver this same question again and again throughout the trip. Reuven, on the other hand, continually inquired of the wagon driver how much longer the trip will take.

Shimon was interested in how far they travelled and his father was interested in closing in on the destination. Why were they focused on different directions?

Shimon, whose life was miserable under his unforgiving stepmother, was focusing on his past, he was happy to be relieved of his troubles. Reuven grew happier as they travelled on the road because he knew that a great blessing was waiting for his son.

The nimshol is as follows:

There were two types of people in the Midbar: Group A) Those who looked to the future and Group B) those who constantly compared their present situation to the past.

The travels of Group A is referred to as "going out to a journeys" because they were leaving their present situation and moving forward. They were looking forward to settling in Eretz Yisrael at the bidding of Hashem.

The travels of the Group B is referred as "journeys to their going out" because they are constantly “journeying back in time” in order to compare their situation – for better or worse - to their life in Egypt. They lacked complete faith in Hashem’s guiding hand.

During one's personal journey in life there are setbacks and challenges. Often times it seems easier to just kvetch and complain about life and journey back in time to "better days" and "better deals". But by doing so such a person views his journey as one of chances, without Hashem’s guiding hand. However, when a person accepts his situation, knowing that it is tailor made by Hashem for his best needs, then he can "go and journey" at the bidding of Hashem. He will travel with joy and confidence knowing that each step along the journey is part of Hashem’s master plan.

During the ‘three weeks’, and especially during the nine days’ many of us are faced with some kind of setback. We don’t know why “all this is happening” but we do know that Hashem is in control and it is for our good. This belief gives us the strength to move forward. By holding hold on to our emunah and looking to the future we will bring the mashgiach and see the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash, speedily, in our days.

Over the years people have asked me if I would ever draw cartoons depicting some of the cases found in Yora Daya. Well, the answer is yes! I recently published a sefer called The Great Game of Kashrut. Click on the link to find out more: The Great Game of Kashrut

As for me, I don’t want to believe in a God that I understand. --

If you would like to dedicate a Davar Torah in honor of a special occasion or in memory of a beloved family member please contact Yisroel Simon at

Good Shabbos,
R’ Channen