Bemidbar is quite an appropriate title because the Israelites find themselves mired in quite a wilderness. One who wishes to search the Torah for drama needs look no further than the pages of this book to find it. For in these pages, the Israelites will tell Moses that they wish to return to Egypt, they will struggle to learn the new laws that they have just received, and they will lose heart when their scouts tell them that they cannot conquer the land of Israel. Korach and his followers will rebel against Moses, a soothsayer will attempt to utter curses upon the people, and Moses will prepare to step aside and hand the reigns of leadership over to Joshua. Bemidbar presents truly dramatic episodes, life-changing moments, struggles and squabbles, all deeply rooted in a quest to serve God and reach the Promised Land.
In this regard, Bemidbar is a metaphor for our lives. Our days are filled with personal struggles, family challenges, difficulties in our workplaces, and we may sometimes feel as if we are lost in the wilderness. While our ancestors sought to reach the land of Israel, our Promised Land is a life of greater clarity, contentment, love and peace.
But maybe "wandering in the wilderness of life" isn't such a bad thing. If our lives are truly bemidbar, if we find ourselves in the wilderness, then it is likely that we find others joining us on similar journeys. Taken as such, both the Hebrew and English names for our book of Torah teach us that there are “numbers in the wilderness.” And because other people are searching like we are, we can feel safer, more secure, knowing that we are not alone in our journey.
Communities do not exist because people are perfect. Rather, communities are established to create safe places in which all of us may search, wrestle, question, and engage meaningfully with the world around us. Rabbi Harvey Fields (z'l) taught in his Torah Commentary for Our Times that our journey is similar in many ways to that of our ancestors. He writes:
[Our ancestors'] desert journey teaches them mutual dependence and loyalty to one another and to the
ethical and ritual commandments that are meant to uplift life with sacred meanings. The experience of
the Israelites in the desert toughened them for all the trials they would face in the future. They suffer
hunger and thirst, are attacked by enemies seeking to destroy them, and are forced to endure discomfort
and constant danger. Their suffering strengthens their will to survive. It gives birth to a
conviction that, no matter how oppressed or beaten, they will ultimately emerge victorious over those
who threaten their destruction
Recognising the power of community, recognising the support of others around us, helping to foster and nurture the relationships within our midst, we can bring purpose and meaning to the wilderness in which we live. Standing together, walking side-by-side with other people who accompany us on our journey, we, like the ancient Israelites, can truly make our lives count.
 Harvey Fields, A Torah Commentary for Our Times Volume III, p. 10.