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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Masei

Parshat Masei

Rabbi David MagenceTammuz 20 5757
3280
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These are the journeys of the Children of
Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt,
according to their organized groups, under
the guidance of Moses and Aaron.
Numbers 33:1

Malbim notes that typically journeys are marked by their destination, rather than point of origin. Therefore, it seemingly would have been appropriate for the Torah to state "These are the journeys of the Children of Israel, who went to the Land of Israel ...".
Our Sages comment that the Israelites in Egypt had sunk to the penultimate level of tum’a (impurity). Based on this, Malbim comments that the journeys were indeed from Egypt. In order to be ready to enter the Holy Land, the People of Israel had to first leave behind Egypt and its deep levels of tum’a.
The journeys were indeed from Egypt from an additional perspective, explains Malbim. Had the Children of Israel not sinned in the matter of the spies, it would have been a short journey into the Holy Land. Though the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, they had not truly left Egypt behind. Thus, the journey to the Land of Israel was turned into a forty year trip.
Perhaps the contemporary question is whether our journeys are from Egypt or to the Promised Land.
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