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Jewish Journey

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Jewish Journey

Man enters into a new state of existence with each moment in this world. Every moment provides another opportunity for spiritual development. His true identity is revealed only after life in this world had ended. Death marks his fully formed state of existence and this final state will exist for eternity in the next world.

 

The term מציאות, existence, is derived from יציאה, coming out, hinting at the continuous transformation in life from potential to actual.[1] The journey of life which involves journeying from one place to another is about living life in a continuous state of revelation. This is shown to us in the 42 journeys[2] during the 40 years from the desert to Eretz Yisrael. The nation’s journey of self-revelation is specifically described using the term מוצאיהם, goings forth,[3] a variation of the term יציאה, coming out. Just as we undertook trips in the desert until we reached our homeland, similarly, we are destined to undertake many journeys in the “wilderness of the nations” following later exiles, until the final return to our homeland.

 

The journey to our homeland is a metaphor for the passage of the barren wasteland of this world en route to the next. The end of life sees one’s arrival to the Heavenly land and Yerushalayim Shel Maalah, Yerushalayim’s Heavenly counterpart above.[4]

 

The 42 journeys find their parallel in the 42 journeys of a person that begin from birth (the exodus is symbolic of the birth of the Jewish nation) and continue until his arrival to his final destination and eternal inheritance which is symbolized by the entry to the Holy Land.[5]

 

The mystical 42-letter name of Hashem is the שם מ”ב (מ”ב has a gematria of 42).[6] This name is connected with creation, which is an expression of Hashem’s oneness.[7] The genesis of the universe unfolded during the 6 days of creation climaxing on Shabbos, the 7th day. 6 is symbolic of the completed physical realm which in turn is directed towards the holiness of 7. Their interplay links to the full revelation of 42 as is hinted to when 6 and 7 are multiplied, where the result is 42.

 

The 6 days of creation as the weekly journey toward reaching Shabbos, the 7th day corresponds to the 6 millennia of existence in this world as the antechamber leading to the next world, which is like the day of Shabbos.[8]

 

The 42 journeys in the wilderness parallel the 42-letter name of Hashem and the ascent from level to level in the preparation from the 6 days of the week to Shabbos.[9] Each journey corresponds to another letter of the 42-letter name. The goal is to elevate ourselves to the spiritual energy of that specific letter.

 

The revelation of creation as a journey towards a higher ideal finds its expression within the 42-word formulation of shema. The declaration of Hashem’s oneness is continued within the opening 6 words of Shema. The oneness of Hashem’s holy name must spread out to permeate all of creation which is connected to the 42-letter name of Hashem. So, the ensuing paragraph of shema following the first pasuk has 42 words.[10] With these words he pledges to devote his 42 trips in the physical world to the service of Hashem and elevating higher and higher.



[1] See Leshem Shvo V’achlama, Hakdamos U’shearim, 1:2.

[2] Bamidbar 33:1-49.

[3] Bamidbar 33:2.

[4] Rema Mipano, Asara Maamaros, Chikur Hadin, 3:22.

[5] Degel Machaneh Efraim, Parshas Masei. There is the revelation of Hashem in the universe through the 42-letter Divine name. Every stage of the journey serves to spread the unity of Hashem throughout creation. There is also the revelation of man as manifest through his 42 stages of life, represented by Yetzias Mitzrayim through the desert in Eretz Yisrael and the passage from this world to the next. These revelations are interconnected as the true revelation of “who man is” works in concert with the revelation of “who Hashem is.” Man was created to use his free will to reveal Hashem and by revealing Hashem, man is revealing the true essence of his being, namely the godliness of his Divine soul.

[6] See Kidushin 71a. This name is derived from the 42-letter sequence between the first letter of the Torah which is the Beis of בראשית until the Beis of תהו ובהו, without form and void (Tosafos to Chagiga 11b).

[7] מ”ב is an acronym for מעשה בראשית. Also, Hashem created the world with Torah. The Written Torah begins with בראשית while the Oral Torah starts with the word מאימתי (Brachos 2a). The initials of these two words are מ”ב.

[8] Mishnayos Tamid 7:4, Rus Rabba 3:3.

[9] Pri Tzadik, Behaaloscha, 1 and Masei, 1.

[10] See Shem Mishmuel, Masei, 5675 in the name of the Arizal.

Author of Four Books including the recently released “Amazing Shabbos Insights”

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