In this week’s Torah portion, Bemidbar ... the Israelites are being ordered and organized for their march through the wilderness to the Promised Land. I imagine that this collection of stubborn, unruly and recently liberated slaves had the potential to mythically resemble the state of my garage. Perhaps it is for this reason that they are given very mundane, specific instructions - tribe by tribe and person by person - where and how to stand and with what implements and adornments. Apparently, reaching the Promised Land needs some level of order and even discipline.
The Etz Hayim Torah commentary explains these machinations in this fashion:
- “Many commentators note the details here of tribal encampments as a way of emphasizing the need for order and organization in achieving a spiritual life. Simcha Zissel Ziv writes: “A person disorderly in behavior is also confused in thought, incapable of stable, consistent work.””
It’s time for me clean my garage.