Hidden within this week’s Torah portion, B’haalot’cha, lies a tiny blessing set apart in a way found nowhere else in the Torah. Bracketed on either side by two upside down Hebrew-letter nuns we find a tiny, two verse prayer that asks God for help in overcoming the obstacles we face along our journey through the wilderness in search of our Promised Land. It reads:
As the Ark journeyed forth, Moses would say:
“Rise up Adonai, let Your enemies scatter, and Your foes ﬂee before You!”
And when the Ark came to rest, he would say:
“Come back Adonai to Israel’s teeming myriads.” (Numbers 10:35-36)
We say just such a prayer in our prayerbook still today. It reads:
Standing on the parted shores of history
we still believe what we were taught
before ever we stood at Sinai’s foot;
that wherever we go, it is eternally Egypt
that there is a better place, a promised land;
that the winding way to that promise
passes through the wilderness.
That there is no way to get from here to there
except by joining hands and marching
May we travel forth in safety on our journey to the promised land, May we settle their together in a world of justice and of peace.