The Parsha lists the 42 locations in the Midbar that Klal Yisroel traveled through, why do some of the names have positive connotations and some have negative?
As our parsha discusses, the 42 travels that the Jewish nation did in the midbar, in the desert, we list the names of the locations where they stopped and camped. And it’s interesting that some of them have a positive connotation like Miska, which means sweet, or Har Shafer, which means the beautiful mountain, while other ones have a negative connotation, like Charada, which means fear, or Mara, bitter. Why do these locations have such interesting names? And what’s with the contrast of positive to negative?
Rabeinu Bachye says an amazing idea that the names of these locations represent the Jewish nation’s attitude toward these travels. When they had a positive attitude that we’re going here because that’s what’s best for us and this is what Hashem thinks we need, then Hashem made it sweet and beautiful. But when we had a negative attitude, then Hashem reciprocated and unfortunately, it was bitter or full of fear. So in our journey through life, we cannot control what stops and what situations we’re going to get into. But what we can control is our attitude towards them. And just that alone can make the difference for Hashem making it bitter or sweet for us.
And some even say that the reason why there’s a tradition for us to read this portion of the parsha in a sing song fashion, similar to Az Yashir, is to portray our positive attitude toward these travels. Because we know that Hashem will give positive outcomes to those who have a positive outlook.
Have a great Shabbos.
Avraham Kohn produces marketing videos for companies and organizations, helping them make money.