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    Taking a short cut

    One of the puzzles of the Torah is why it took the Children of Israel 40 years to get from Egypt to the Promised Land when the distance was so short and could have been covered in a few days or at worst a few weeks.

    Surely God had a special purpose in mind when He planned the journey to freedom.

    One explanation is that this was a motley people who had just emerged from bondage. A few days or a few weeks would not have been sufficient to turn them into a disciplined nation able to handle independence and possessed of an esprit de corps.

    We all learn that lesson if we imagine that a cultural gap can be closed almost overnight. Taking a short cut is a wonderful idea but it can make matters worse.

    The sages speak of paths which are “short but long” and paths which are “long but short”. Things have to take their time.

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