As of this moment, thousands of young Israeli soldiers are risking their lives to protect their people. Tens have already given their lives. These thoughts are dedicated to them. May they all return safely.

 Max Steinberg grew up in Woodland Hills, California. He was a cheerful person, and a big fan of Bob Marley. In 2013, Max volunteered for the Israel Defense Forces. This past Sunday he was killed in Gaza, protecting the people of Israel. He was 24. His family decided to hold the funeral in Israel, which he gave his life to protect. They were aware that not many people could be expected to attend, being that most of their family and friends were in the States. On Wednesday, July 23rd, 30,000 people attended Max's funeral in Jerusalem, the vast majority of which had never met him.

 This week we read in the Torah about the various travels of the Jewish people during their 40 year sojourn in the desert, which took them from Egypt to the Land of Israel. The Torah begins this saga with a peculiar statement: "These are the trips the Jews took while leaving Egypt", enumerating 42 travels in total. The Jews didn't take 'trips' while leaving Egypt. They took one trip. One foot in Egypt, big step forward, out of Egypt. Voila, they're out. Why does the Torah use the plural when describing their exit from Egypt - as if every one of their 42 stops where exits from Egypt over and over again?

The Talmud gives us a little hint: "In every generation one should constantly view themselves as if they just left Egypt" it says. Think you just came back from the supermarket or the office? Just returned from bringing your son to soccer practice or the dentist? Wrong. You just left Egypt. So that's why the Torah refers to all 42 journeys of the Jews in the desert as 'leaving Egypt'. All trips we ever make, in the desert or to the dentist, are all leaving Egypt.

How so? Egypt in Hebrew is 'Mitzraim', rooted in the word 'Metzarim', or limitations. We must always strive to leave our previous limitations behind and reach new heights, then surpass those heights and reach higher. If we did one Mitzva yesterday, today let's do two. So leaving Egypt is a constant journey, every day and in every action we take.

 Max Steinberg gave his all for his brethren. He surpassed everything expected from him, ultimately giving his life to protect others. At Max's funeral, his comrade in the IDF quoted Bob Marley: "Live for yourself and you will live in vain, live for others and you will live again". The Jewish people are one family, and 30,000 of Max's family members whom he never met came to pay their respects to someone who reached the highest level a human being can reach. May we all be, in some way, like Max and strive to always reach higher, never be satisfied with the good we have done and always do more. Keep climbing.

Rabbi Avrohom