THE PORTION OF MATOT-MASEI - Root Source
Author: Gidon Ariel

Published Date: July 13, 2020

By Yoram Raanan

MATOT
NUMBERS 30:2-32:42

In this portion, we are taught about vows which can be annulled, about God’s revenge on the Midianites and about two tribes who wish to hand-pick their land lot.

Topic 1: Vows and Oaths
The Torah delineates the laws of vows in this passage. Any promise made in God’s name is legally binding, and one who violates such an oath, whether it is a commitment to do or refrain from something, is liable before God. There is an exception, however. Should a woman make a vow, it can… Read More »

Topic 2: The Battle Against Midian
God commands Moses to lead the Children of Israel into battle against Midian as vengeance for causing them to sin at Baal Peor, after which Moses will die. Without flinching, Moses orders the nation to send out an army of 1,000 soldiers from each tribe to fight against this enemy of God. The fighters slay… Read More »

Topic 3: The Other Side of the Jordan
As the nation prepares to enter the Promised Land, the tribes of Reuben and Gad approach Moses with a proposal. They are laden with sheep and cattle and have noticed that the newly-conquered lands on this side of the Jordan River are suitable for livestock. Instead of being given a portion of the land of… Read More »

MASEI
LEVITICUS 33:1-36:13

In this portion, we learn of the journeys made by the Israelites in the desert and the plan for their arrival, including the division of the land. Finally, we return to the story of the daughters of Zelophehad, whose cousins are concerned that they may take their heritage and marry into another tribe.

Topic 1: A Summary of the Journey and a Plan for the Future
This lengthy passage details all the journeys the Children of Israel make in the desert, from Egypt to the banks of the Jordan. Although they spent 50 years in the desert, the Torah tells us that they only made camp 38 times. The Israel Bible points out this sign of God’s incredible compassion: rather than… Read More »

Topic 2: Tribal Intermarriage and the Laws of Inheritance
The book of Numbers closes with a return to the daughters of Zelophehad, who, in their zeal and love for the Land of Israel, insisted on being granted an inheritance among the members of their tribe in place of their father, who died without sons. Now, their cousins approach Moses with a complaint: if the… Read More »

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