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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Dreaming Backwards From Station 42

Masai, the final parsha of Sefer Devarim, leaves us at the completion of the journey of the Hebrews before they reach the Promised Land. Chapter 53: lines 1-50 list the forty two stops the Hebrews. I had never really paid attention to this list before, but the fact that each of the stations is named is significant and a point for reflection. The Ba'al Shem Tov, the founder of the Chasidic movement, equated those 42 stations, to 42 stations spanning a person's lifetime. In preparing for this post, I listened to a podcast where the teacher, Rabbi SB Gershuny, asked the participants in the class to reflect on what those 42 stages might be in their lives. I will play this idea forward and ask you, when this little poem is complete, to use this week's parsha as a time to reflect on the stages of your life leading to today. Of course, we cannot go backwards and change things in our lives, but just taking that time to reflect upon them helps us in going forward toward that final stop, yet unknown stop, Station 42.


Dreaming Backwards From Station 42

If we could only know where the final station is;

that 42d station,

the station so elusive to us,

but thought about many times.

It isn’t visible through the haze

until the very end

and it is too late

Or,  is it?



42d station

is just a


resting place,

a point of departure

from where

we can begin to dream,

dream backwards

Weightless now,


no troubles,

no cares.


our arms outstretched,

we are free.

We hover


the other stations in our


Topsy Turvey

as they were;

soaring by


high points,

low points, too.


as we were on our journey

we ran past

in our haste

to arrive at

that next station






but such sweet


to station 42.

Flying backwards


a final gift

as we hover for a moment

over favorite stations

that have brought us

So many

Glorious smiles.

Oh, the people we have loved

Oh, the stories we have lived.

So much love.

And as we soar

through that



laughter erupts

Like a spring.

As we fly,

So fast


From station

to station,

to the



How glorious it is

to see it played backwards




We blow one final kiss

which lands lightly

like the finest


on those we love.

But now

we must return.

Fear not,

You are not alone

Michael flies on your right

Gavriel to your left

Ahead is Uriel

and Refael is behind you.

The haze is gone.

Station 42 is waiting


Shining bright.

We can fly forwards now.

Our backward journey has ended

and the light awaits.

אֵ֜לֶּה מַסְעֵ֣י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָצְא֛וּ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם לְצִבְאֹתָ֑ם בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁ֖ה וְאַהֲרֹֽן׃

These were the marches of the Israelites who started out from the land of Egypt, troop by troop, in the charge of Moses and Aaron.

Numbers 33:1 (From SEfaria) Rabbi Kohenet Sarah Bracha Gershuny speaks about Parshat Matot -Masai

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