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Parashat Matot & Massei; Numbers; Chapter 30 Verse 2 – Chapter 36 Verse 13

07/10/2018 10:10:26 AM

Jul10

General Overview: In this week's Torah portion the year is 2488 and the 40 years in the desert are drawing to a close. Miriam and Aaron have passed on, and Joshua has been appointed as the successor. In these last two portions of Sefer Bamidbar, Matot & Massei, G-d begins to wrap things up. Pay attention to the laws selected to end the 4th Book.

1st Section: The laws of personal vows are detailed and Moshe is instructed to “take revenge” against Midian. In the battle, both Balak and Bilaam are killed.

2nd Section: In the aftermath of the war, Moshe instructs the soldiers regarding the applicable laws of Tumah – impurity, and deals with the division of the booty between the soldiers, community, and the Mishkan.

Note verses 22 and 23 which teach us the laws of how to make kosher our vessels, and the Torah requirement for metal vessels made by a non-Jew or purchased from a non-Jew to be immersed in a mikveh before being used, (the Rabbis extended this law to included glassware).

In appreciation for the fact that not a single soldier was lost in battle, the Generals and Captains donate their personal percentage of the captured gold to the Mishkan. The total weight of the donated gold weighed 837.5 lbs.!

3rd & 4th Section: Moshe is approached by the tribes of Reuven, Gad, and half of Menashe to acquire the Trans-Jordan territories captured from Sichon and Og. Moshe first treats their petition with suspicion; however, an agreement is reached between the two and a half tribes and Moshe: Trans-Jordan in exchange for manning the front lines in the campaign to take Eretz Yisroel.

5th Section: Moshe instructs the B’nai Yisrael to clear out the Land from all negative influences, and sets the Biblical boundaries of the Land.

6th Section: New leaders are appointed to oversee the division of the Land, and the 48 Levitical cities, including the 6 Cites of Refuge, are mandated.

7th Section: The laws regarding the inadvertent murderer are detailed, and the prohibition against marrying outside one’s tribe is established. This prohibition was only for the generation that occupied the Land.

 

Haftara: Jeremiah; Chapter 2 Verse 4-28; Chapter 4 Verse 1-2

Haftara Summary:This week’s haftarah is the second of a series of three “haftarot of affliction.” These three haftarot are read during the Three Weeks of mourning for Jerusalem, between the fasts of 17 Tammuz and 9 Av.

The prophet Jeremiah transmits G‑d’s message to the Jewish people, in strong tones chastising all the sectors of the people, including the leadership, for their abandonment of G‑d. “What wrong did your forefathers find in Me, that they distanced themselves from Me, and they went after futility and themselves became futile?” He reminds them of the kindness G‑d did for them, taking them out of Egypt and leading them through the desert and settling them in the Promised Land, yet they repaid kindness with disloyalty. “For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the spring of living waters, [and furthermore, this was in order] to dig for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that do not hold water.”

G‑d asks them to view the actions of their neighboring nations, the Kittites and Kedarites, “and see whether there was any such thing, whether a nation exchanged a god, although they are not gods. Yet My nation exchanged their glory for what does not avail.”

Jeremiah then goes on to foretell the suffering the Jewish people will suffer at the hands of their enemies, and also their erstwhile allies: “Your evil will chastise you, and you will be rebuked for your backslidings; and you shall know and see that your forsaking the L‑rd your G‑d is evil and bitter.”

The haftarah ends on an encouraging note, assuring the people that if they return to G‑d with sincerity, they will be restored to their full glory.

Tue, July 17 2018 5 Av 5778