This week’s double-portion of Torah reading covers a lot of ground, almost literally, in that by the end it summarizes the travels of the Israelites from Egypt to their entry to the Promised Land.
It also covers warfare against the Midianites, the aftermath of that battle, and the laws that would govern issues of murder and accidental death once the Israelites have settled.
In this broad narrative there is a message – we aim to overcome times in the wilderness, times of war, with a goal of settlement, law, and peace.
This is a struggle for us as Jews. No matter where we live it is still the wilderness and we look to the future as a place worth building towards. We must always improve upon the present. Settling seems to be something for the “promised land” of the imagined and hoped for future.
The Torah reminds us amid battle and strife that we must strive for a normal that does not include war.
Wishing everyone a beautiful week of work and enjoyment, and a Shabbat to come of peace,