The Story of a Developing Community
From Exodus to Exoneration—Our parashah is defined by a dramatic event, one that transforms the desert experience from a fleeting stop on the short journey from Egypt to Israel into a lengthy period that spans a generation. The lengthening of the days in the desert indeed ensures that those who left Egypt will not enter the land. But perhaps more significantly, the desert sojourn is not just the story of a band of former slaves merging their tribal identities into the makings of a sovereign people. It also presents as the story of a changing God: one who initially responds with immediacy and emotion, but who comes to anchor the human-divine relationship in a fundamentally different way.