This week, we cross a point of inflection. As the Jews continue on their journey through the desert, we begin to hear about their approach to the land of Israel. If you were not paying attention, you might miss the fact that the Torah missed recording 38 years. However, in fact, the text is missing all the events that happened during the vast majority of the time in the desert.
Why does the Torah jump through so much time? Our rabbis tell us that it is because G-d did not communicate with the Jewish people at all in prophecy during the time. It was a time when they were just waiting, not advancing, and as such, in the Torah, it merits no mention. However, this only solves part of the problem. It really gets no mention at all. If you don't do the maths, you would literally not know that the jump had happened.
The Torah has a message here that is helpful for our lives. Looking back, telling a story, there is often a point which we can point to and say: "this is where everything changed." This week's Parsha is just such a point, it is the exact moment when the children of Israel again began their approach to the Land of Israel. It also marks the point when they would once more concern themselves with the matter of purity so essential to life in the land. However, when we live through these moments we don't necessarily appreciate their significance at the time. We don't necessarily understand that everything has changed.
In our times we experience similar moments. We are now emerging from yet another lockdown. Vaccinations are increasing and more and more of our population have had at least one shot. As much as it feels like nothing has changed, we are gradually learning to live in the post-pandemic world that we are entering. At such times, it is important to remember the lessons of the Torah and to think about how we should really assess these moments. We should maintain our hope that things really are changing