“אלה מסעי בני ישראל” ויסעו..ויחנו..ויסעו ויחנו”
“These are the journeys of the children of Israel” They journeyed .. and they camped .. and they journeyed and camped”
Why is the Torah spending so much time talking about the journeys of the nation of Israel while they were in the desert, when there are no extra words in the Torah, and what is the purpose in recounting the places that they passed through?
The Midrash says – There is a Mashal to a father who had walked with his son a long way, over a long period of time. Together they had been through a lot along the way. One day his father took him to see all the places they had been, and started to point out – there you had a headache, here I saved you, and went through and showed him all the places they had been. The father wanted his son to learn from their journey. And this is what the Torah is trying to tell us – that we all have our own journeys in life. While one has the journey of livelihood, another has the journey of finding a spouse (shiduchim), yet another has a journey to go through with his children. Everyone has different problems in life, and we need to pay attention to why things are happening. We have to look at what we have been through, and at how we can make things better in the future. We should not move forward without learning a lesson from our past experiences. And this is why the Torah is telling us all about Am Yisrael’s (the Jewish nation’s) journey in the desert. So that they will learn from it for the future, from their complaints. From their being unappreciative of what was given to them. And from the times they did not listen to Hashem. And many Jewish people died. All these experiences that they went through can serve as lessons for the future, so that the same mistakes will not be repeated.