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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Masei

Parashat Massei

The Exile

The punishment of exile for a murderer; If the murderer has a rabbi then the rabbi exiles with his student; G-d "exiled" with us to the "galut", but now that we came back to Israel the "shekhina" stays only in Israel.
3646
Dedicated to the memory of
Amram son of Sultana
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Parashat Mas’ei discusses "galut", the punishment of exile meted out to one who is guilty of inadvertent manslaughter. The Torah requires that such an individual flee to a city of refuge and remain there during the lifetime of the High Priest. The murderer is safe from the victim’s avenger only if he remains in the city of refuge.

Hazal teach (Makkot 10a) that if a student is sent into this exile, his teacher must go with him to the city of refuge and continue with his Torah lessons. What happens if, after the High Priest’s death, the killer decides to remain in exile and not leave the city of refuge? Must the teacher stay with his student and continue to teach him Torah? Clearly, the teacher is obligated to remain in exile only as long as the student is unable to leave. If the student is permitted to leave but chooses to remain in a self-imposed exile, the teacher is under no obligation to stay.

There is another type of exile that is all too familiar to us. We have been living in exile for nearly 2000 years. We have been confined to impure and unfamiliar foreign lands. Hazal teach that when we were sent into exile, Hashem went into exile along with us, so that His Shekhinah has been among us in all the strange lands of our exile.
Through Hashem’s great kindness, we have been allowed to leave the bitter exile and return to Eretz Yisrael. For the first time in thousands of years, we have been able to return to our own land. Just like the teacher who may return home, leaving his student in his self-imposed exile, so too Hashem has returned home, His Shekhinah now resting in Eretz Yisrael. Isn’t it time to leave the self-imposed exile and return to the land of the Shekhinah? Certainly, the Shekhinah is waiting for us all to return.

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