Climbing the ladder of life

What is the proper outlook to have as we come across struggles in our day to day life?

After we mess up, how can we still attain a balance of being realistic and knowing where we are holding, without causing the idea of change to seem so far off and unfathomable?

The secret to achieving this balance can be found in the Torah:

“Eleh Maasei Bnei Yisreal Asher Yatzu Me’eretz Mitzrayim” These are the journeys of the children of Israel as they left Egypt. The Torah then goes on to count the 42 places where they camped in the wilderness on the way from Egypt to the Land of Israel.

At first glance this is not understood. How can it say these are the journeys as they left Egypt, you can only leave Egypt once, the rest of the trips are within the wilderness.

The Hebrew word for Egypt – “Mitzraim” – is connected to the word “Meitzarim” which means boundaries and limitations, and so the lesson we are being told is that leaving our personal boundaries, habits and behaviors is not a one-time thing but rather we have to know that it is a long process and we constantly have to be working on ourselves, never being complacent with where we are.

At the same time, however, we have to celebrate the small victories, just as the Torah counts each of the forty-two trips as journeys out of Egypt. We have to give ourselves a pat on the back for every little one of our hang-ups that we rid ourselves of.

When we go with this outlook, slowly climbing the ladder of life, then one day we will look down in surprise at how far up we have reached.

Adapted from the wisdom of the Rebbe, LK"S V.2 Parshat Matos-Masei