The long and winding road*…
For us of the “older” generation, the end of the book of Numbers (Parashat Matot-Masei) should resonate deeply. Here we have the recitation of the forty-two encampments during our time in the wilderness, a lifetime of experiences recounted as this chapter in our lives comes to a close. We look back at the long strange trip it has been.* Is the land that was promised indeed the Promised Land and has the crucible that was the Midbar, or desert, prepared us and made us deserving. We wonder how this will play out as we move into the next chapter, which is the book of Deuteronomy. Have our experiences prepared us for the next phase of our lives? Have the experiences been worthwhile? Have we really learned anything along the way and how might we share it with our children? We can only hope that this journey leads someplace.
But we know that this someplace is more than something physical. There is a spiritual and mystical component as well. For as we stand at the threshold of something new, we recognize that this “someplace” is the legacy that we are to leave to the next generation. Where we are becomes the foundation for our children. In the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy we will find the V’ahavta. The V’ahavta prayer remains at the heart of Judaism. It tells us that our encounter with God and the principles we have learned along the way are central to our existence as children of the Divine. And we are instructed to teach these principles to our children. Each of us hopes that we leave something of value- that our journey was worthwhile and our legacy will survive after we are gone.
* Thanks and apologies to both the Beatles and the Grateful Dead.