If you’ve already downloaded the tour, please do so again. I’ve added the markers to this tour, so now you’ll be able to see the locations. I admit the first one was a bit of mistake…

To view the Tour on your iPhone:

click and hold down and  copy this text (this will copy the link to your iPhone clipboard)

Go to your browser (Safari) and in the URL space click and hold down, then let go.  You’ll see an option to ‘Paste’.  Click ‘Paste’ then click ‘Go’.  You’ll be taken to YouTube to watch the recording.

To view the Tour on your Computer:

Click Here

Follow these instructions to Download the tour to Google Earth:

1.  Download Google Earth, if you do not have it on your computer.

2. Click here to download the map.

3. Open the file tour.kmz with Google Earth

4.  Inside the file there is a tour.  Click to watch the tour.

click to start the tour

Right now this is only available on a computer.  I have not yet figured out how to provide access to it on an iPhone.

As a disclaimer: this is not an accurate map for a number of reasons.  It is based on the Book Eleh Masei by Dan Schwartz.  However, if it were to be accurate, I would have based it on longitude and latitude.  I did not have that information available.  Additionally, Rabbi Schwartz states that many of the places are estimates since we do not know where these places were.  So, think of this as a first attempt that can provide an order of magnitude for what the tour would have been.  Hopefully someone will come along who has better information and improve on this.

Nevertheless, there are two main lessons that I have always known but this exercise made the lesson so much clearer to me:

1.  God miraculously supported the Children of Israel.

You can see this from the places that the Jews stayed: there was almost never any water, habitation of  traders the Jews could have purchased from, or other basics needed for an individual, let alone a whole nation.

2.  The punishment of traveling through the desert was miserable.

I never really appreciated it before, but the Jewish people crisscrossed the desert so many times.  I know from my own experience how frustrating it is to feel like you are lost and just retracing your own steps.  Watching this tour really brought that home for me.  I’ve tried to give that sense by showing a specific stopping point, and also showing the other areas that the Jews had camped.  For example, when the Jews were in Kadesh, they were almost inside of Israel, just south of the Dead Sea.  Next, they are in Hor Hahar, traveling back into the desert.

Of course, these two contradictory experiences were part of the same process of the Jewish people growing in faith and making the land of Israel dear to them.

“Your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23).

God’s punishment reminds us that He is present, and corrects us because he has a mission for the Jewish people.

Tonight is the first of Av, 5771.  Now is the time that we remember and prepare for the coming fast on the 9th of Av.  I hope this tour can remind us, a little, of the gravity of speaking ill of the land of Israel.  Our tradition teaches that the Jewish people spoke evil of the land of Israel on the 9th of Av.  God decreed that all future punishments would take place on this day.  Indeed, the destruction of the First and Second Temple, the expulsion from Spain and the outbreak of WWI all happened on the 9th of Av.

Hopefully we can remember God’s love, His rod and staff, and find comfort knowing that He guides the world; with that, we will repent, and find ourselves redeemed, once again, in the land of Israel.