This D’var Torah is written Liluei Nishmat (for the elevation of the souls) of all the brave soldiers who were murdered al pi Kiddush HASHEM in sanctification of GOD’s name this past week fighting for our country Eretz Yisrael. May the merit of this D’var Torah being written and shared also be to heal all the soldiers who have been injured in this war as well as anyone injured from rocket attacks and a Yeshiva University Rebbe Rav Moshe Tzvi Ben Freyda Simcha who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Growing up on Shabbat afternoon my family and I would often play a board game called The Game of Life. For those who might not know the way the game works is that the different players have a token representing themselves and throughout the game the token moves through different life events (e.g. buy a house, have a kid). Throughout the game the players also collect money from their career that they chose from several options earlier on in the game. The winner of the game is the one with the most colorful play money at retirement. However, is this what our lives should be about?

The beginning of this week’s parsha describes the 42 stops where Bnei Yisrael camped out on their journey in the wilderness up until this point right before they are about to enter the land of Eretz Yisrael.

The Baal Shem Tov (as seen in the Netivot Shalom) points out that these 42 stops symbolize the 42 trials and tribulations which begin with birth (here symbolized by the exodus from Egypt) and culminate in death and moving on to the next world (symbolized by entering the land of Eretz Yisrael).

From the Baal Shem Tov’s understanding of the 42 stops I feel we can learn a powerful lesson. That we have our own trials and tribulations which we encounter throughout our lives but ultimately, like the Jews in the wilderness, we will come to enter our own personal Eretz Yisrael. Whether our personal Eretz Yisrael be in the end of our lives when we merit eternal life in the world to come or even the rewards we reap in this world overcoming difficult challenges, are the only ways we are we able to achieve true greatness at the highest of levels.

A strong example of this are the soldiers currently fighting in Gaza right now to maintain our Jewish homeland. For several decades now the thousands of soldiers who have fought for our land since the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948 have also worked extremely hard to fight for our homeland.

May we all be successful in facing the challenges we face throughout our lives and achieve greatness and have more meaning in our life than who has the largest stack of colorful dollar bills.

May Moschiach come soon!

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom, Gut Shabbes,