The Sherman house is full again. Children are back from summer camp, laundry is overflowing, and noise pilfers the pockets of silence that temporarily existed just days ago. Our routines are back to making breakfasts, preparing lunches, and jumping into bedtime routines that involve endless stories and complaints. Everything is out of place, and the house is chaotic, disorganized, and loud.
But our imperfect summer family reunion reminds me to bless this mess. And the Torah asks us to do the same.
As B’nai Yisrael wanders through the wilderness, the Torah lists each place on their journey. At Rephidim, the Torah reminds us that this is the spot where the Israelites had no water to drink. The people doubt Moses and question their faith in a providing God. Why mention a place where chaos ensued?
Perhaps it is recalling the mess that provides depth to the journeys that unfold our most meaningful relationships. God’s and Moses’ connections with B’nai Yisrael were filled with strife, anger, tension, and frustration. They were also filled with patience, embrace, love, and faith. The bumps on the road offered openings for introspection, forgiveness of the Lord, and forgiveness of self. If the Torah did not recall the hurdles, we might not be willing to see through our own obstacles and shortcomings. We might not be able to see the wells of water through the deserts of thirst.
Recalling the mess reminds us that journeys are meant to contain curvy roads and unexplainable turns. And blessing the mess reminds us to continue onward. Soon, we too, might see a Promised Land.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s bog post HERE.