“On the Road”- or “The Road less traveled?”
The title of this weeks Torah portion, “Massei”- Journeys, can be misleading.
For someone thumbing through the table of contents, eager to find an ancient Biblical version of Jack Kerouac’s “on the Road”- or even Jon Krakauer’s tender and unbearably sad retracing of Christopher Johnson McCandle’s journey, “into the wild” – will be sorely disappointed.
They will find instead, a dry index of all the places in the wilderness where they stopped and rested, leaving out all the “juicy” in between stuff- prompting many jewish scholars to suggest that a more sedate title such as “encampments” might have been more suitable for this portion.
The medieval Scholar, Rashi responds by pointing out a simple but easily overlooked truth: “The encampment is also part of the journey.”
Rashi, reminds us here to be mindful of the ample opportunities to experience truth- along the way of the mini journeys we embark on daily, even as we are encamped, firmly grounded in the prosaic, in the entrenched faithful acceptance of the predictable contours, and colors of our lives.
While there might exist many ways to reach the high plains of our truth, some perhaps more “glamorous” than others -the shy but reliable inner truth that sustains us in the “Road less traveled” mode of our stillness, a quiet truth that resides in the here and now- is as important as the booming, erratic truths- that line the walls of the beyond, the exotic “out there” places we encounter along “the Road.”