This week's Parasha, Mas'ei, begins with a recap of the different places the Jews visited in the desert. We are told of all of their various destinations. Some of these places are familiar from earlier in the Torah. Others are not. Why do we need to repeat the entire list? And why does the list feature here at all?
When reaching a time of transition, or when finishing a project, it is important to look back and see what worked and what didn't. It is important to reflect on what has passed so that we can plan for the future. But even more so, it is important to reflect on what we have been through, for these are the events which will shape us going forward. Our identities are moulded by our choices, our actions, and our history. To be conscious of this effect, and to shape ourselves as we would like, we need to reflect on our past and contextualise it, even down to very small details.
In these times of upheaval and the unknown, it is easy to become overwhelmed. It is easy to lose our perspective and to forget our goals. However, there will be a time when this has all passed. When that day comes, where will we be? Will we have advanced? Will we look back on our achievements with pride? Ensuring that we do feel satisfied with ourselves, that we succeed it whatever we have set ourselves do to, starts today with examining our past and reflecting on what brought us here.