Serving God in All We Do

Rabbi Shai Held

Parashat Mattot-Masei

Reading Numbers 33 can be a tedious undertaking. The chapter recounts the various stations on Israel’s journey through the wilderness—all forty-two of them. The question, of course, is why—why the painstaking, laborious enumeration of all of Israel’s stopping places, even places where nothing of any significance seems to have taken place. Yet traditional interpreters have been guided by the assumption that each and every story in the Torah serves a purpose. What, then, can we make of this less-than-scintillating account of Israel’s journeys and resting-places? (5779)