On Friday, Morah Kaplan asked her students which parshah would be read in shul this Shabbos.
"I know," Riki called out. "It's Bamidbar."
"What a coincidence," exclaimed Dina. "Last year we also read Parshas Bamidbar on the Shabbos before Shavuos. I remember, because my brother was called up to the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah that day."
"Actually," Morah Kaplan told the class, "It's not that much of a coincidence. We always read Parshas Bamidbar before Shavuos. Bamidbar means "in the desert." There is a strong connection between a desert and the Torah which we were given on Shavuos."
"Oh, I remember learning about that," Miriam said. "The desert is open land. Nobody owns it. The Torah also does not belong to any one person alone. Every Jew has an equal share in the Torah."
"Very good, Miriam," Morah Kaplan praised her. "And, girls, there are more things that we can learn from the fact that the Torah was given in the desert. Let's think what life is like in a desert."
"Very little food."
"Now, when our forefathers received the Torah in the desert, they had to depend on HaShem for all their needs - for food, water and clothing. But they didn't worry. Instead, they eagerly received the Torah with joy and trust.
"We should learn this lesson from them. Even if we sometimes feel that we need things, we should not worry about them or let our needs disturb us from studying the Torah and doing mitzvos. We should trust HaShem and rely on Him to provide us with the things we need, just as He did for our ancestors in the desert."
Chani raised her hand. "Morah, last summer I went to Eretz Yisrael and visited my cousins in a small town in the Negev desert. True, it was hot, but they had plenty of water and beautiful gardens and parks."
Morah Kaplan nodded, "Our sages tell us that during the forty years the Jews journeyed through the desert, the desert changed. Even trees flowered and gave fruit.
"Some people are like a desert. They feel empty and dry when it comes to holy things. They, too, can change. The Torah can help them grow full of feeling for HaShem, and become fruitful with good deeds."
(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VIII, p. 237)