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Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum: The Baal Shem Tov says that the 42 stops of Israel in the desert represent the steps that every person makes in their own lives, with all the trials and tribulations at each one.

We are learning the lessons of Aharon HaKohen, who dies in this week’s parsha on Rosh Chodesh Av, which is today. This is the week that the communities of Israel and the diaspora comes together in the Torah reading, as Israel reads Masei and others read Matot-Masei, after many weeks of being off. Its a time of coming together, learning the lessons of peace, as we turn these days of mourning into days of happiness.

Jody Berkel: Two words: Lech Lecha- Go forward. We are implored to keep moving forward in life. Life is a journey, not a destination. Get out of your comfort zone. Life is about growth.

Rabbi Yonah Berman: The Abarvanel asks why there are place names on the list of Israel’s travels that don’t appear anywhere else. That’s because Israel gave names to these places based on their experiences there. This week was the Yahrtzeit of Rav Amital of Yeshivat Har Etzion, a pioneer of Torah learning in Israel. He used to refer to himself as a simple Jew, but he was able to relate to everyone. As we travel this summer, let’s think about how we relate to our experiences in each place, and how we’d name it for ourselves.

There are a lot of lists in Masei, which makes sense for the end of the book of Bamidbar. Hashem is giving land to everyone except the Leviim. Why? So they can live in cities among the other tribes, teaching Torah without the burdens of earning a living. This type of planning is smart urban design optimized for different communal needs.

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg:
2:42 – The Power of Words (R. Zeidel Epstein)
6:30 – My Words Matter (R. Soloveitchik)
11:39 – Forbidden Fruit Syndrome (R. Chaim Kanievsky)
25:03 – We Must Be Responsible (R. Leib Chasman)
26:26 – We Are Synonymous With Hashem (Alter of Kelm)
28:47 – Everyone Has Something Good (R. Nachman of Breslov)
35:30 – Moshe Could Not Attack Midian (Baalei HaTosafos)
37:08 – Moshe Could Not Rebel Against Gratitude (R. Simcha Zisl Broide)
41:05 – Moshe’s Unjustified Angry (Alter of Slobodka)
45:10 – How to Get Down From Anger (R. Zalman Sorotzkin)
47:08 – Anger is Fire (Pele Yoetz)
48:47 – Teaching Children to Be Silent (R. Shlomo Wolbe)
51:44 – We Must Kasher Ourselves (Kotzker Rebbe)
56:03 – Purging Ourselves With Fire (Nesivos Shalom)
1:00:35 – You Gotta Believe It (Ramban)