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    The upcoming holiday
    of Shavuot, the
    celebration of our
    receiving the Torah,
    along with the name of
    the book we are now
    beginning – “Bamidar” (“in the desert”) –
    gives us an opportunity to reflect on the fact
    that G-d chose to give us the Torah, and to
    begin our nation’s history, in a desert.
    Why the desert? Why didn’t G-d wait
    until we came into the land, built homes
    and communities, and got ourselves settled?
    One Rabbi answered that the Torah was
    given in the desert precisely because it is in
    “desert” conditions when we show that
    we’re up to the task, that we are truly
    Imagine going to sleep at night without a
    morsel of food in the house. Nothing. The
    cupboards, the fridge and the freezer are
    EMPTY. And, there is no plumbing, so you
    have not a drop of water.
    One other thing – your bank account is
    down to zero. There’s not even a
    penny. You have no job and no source of

    Sounds pretty scary.
    Somebody then tells you not to worry,
    because when you wake up in the morning,
    all the food your family needs is going to
    fall down from the sky. And you’re going
    to have plenty of water – it’s going to come
    out of a rock.
    This is how Beneh Yisrael lived in the
    desert, for forty years. They went to sleep
    each night with absolutely nothing, with
    not even a crumb of food. All they had was
    the promise that manna will fall the next
    morning and water will flow from a rock.
    True commitment to Hashem is shown in
    the “desert,” in times of instability. This is
    when we show that we trust in Hashem,
    that we believe that He is the source of our
    sustenance and our wellbeing.
    We crave stability. It’s one of our most
    important needs. But we look for it in the
    wrong places. We look for it in our jobs,
    our businesses, our source of income, our
    house, our car, our wealthy relative or
    friend. The Torah was given in the most
    unstable condition possible – in the desert,
    where the people had no possibility of
    sustaining themselves, to teach them, and

    to teach us, that OUR SENSE OF
    HASHEM, and from nothing else.
    In the times of the Bet Ha’mikdash, the
    nation would come to the Bet
    Ha’mikdash every Pesach, Shavuot and
    Sukkot. The Gemara says that on these
    holidays, the kohanim would display to the
    people the shulhan – the special table in
    the Bet Ha’mikdash, which had on it the
    Lechem Hapanim, special bread. The bread
    remained on the table for a full week until it
    was removed and eaten by the kohanim, but
    it miraculously remained fresh all week.
    The kohanim displayed this miracle to the
    people to show them that THE MANNA
    IS STILL FALLING. The bread on our
    tables, even now, is as miraculous as the
    manna in the desert. Hashem is sustaining
    us just as He sustained our ancestors in the
    most unstable place imaginable.
    We are living in a time of instability like
    we’ve never experienced before. We cannot
    be certain of anything anymore. We have
    no idea – nobody has any idea – what our
    world or our lives will look like in another
    two months, let alone in another
    year. Everything we are used to relying on

    for our sense of stability is suddenly
    unreliable. We are back in the desert.
    And it is specifically for times like this
    that Hashem gave us the Torah in a desert
    – to teach us that it is here where we show
    our faith, where we make it clear that we
    place our trust in Him, and not in anything
    In this unstable world, we find stability
    through our faith Hashem. He has been the
    one caring for us until now, and He will be
    caring for us going forward. Nothing has
    really changed. He cared for us before
    lockdown, He cares for us during lockdown,
    and He will care for us after lockdown. It’s
    all the same for Him. And the more we
    realize this, the more stability we will
    experience in our lives.