The Torah in part resembles a parent’s nightmare. You pack your children in your car, and set out on a journey. Say, the journey to parents’ house, or the journey to a sibling’s house, or a journey to a cherished friend’s house. Before you get into the street, before you leave your driveway, you can expect to hear, “Are we there yet?” Every block, at least every mile, the children pose the same question: “are we there yet?” And they repeat the question until you are, at long last, at the destination.
We read this week Ki Tavo. “V-hayah ki tavo el ha-aretz.” “When you come into the land.” Six other times, once in Exodus, four times in Leviticus, and once in Numbers, the Torah says, “When you enter the land [literally, when you come into the land].” The Israelites for 40 years are teased with, “When you come into the land.” It was enough to make grown people cry, “Are we there yet?”
Anticipation of good destination makes the trip worthwhile. Whether the destination is Cousin Marty’s house, or the zoo, or a movie, or a national park, we enjoy the journey because the journey brings its own reward. The Israelites were teased for 40 years with, “When you come into the land,” and then, finally, they crossed the river and occupied the land. It must have been sweeter because of the anticipation.