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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Matot

Parsha Summary: Matot-masei

Rabbi Stewart WeissTamuz 29 5775
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Our 1st Sedra of Shabbat, Matot, begins with a discussion of the laws regarding vows (nedarim) and oaths (shavuot).

The battle against Midyan is then described, as is the distribution of spoils and the kashering of vessels.

Reuven and Gad step forward to ask permission to live east of the Jordan, which has land suitable for their abundant livestock. Moshe reluctantly agrees, after securing the tribes' promise to first assist in conquering the Land.

Parshat Masei summarizes the route traveled by Bnei Yisrael during their 40 years in the desert, from the Exodus until the arrival at the Jordan River. We are told to expel the foreign inhabitants of the Land. The exact borders of Israel are delineated. Special cities are set
aside for the Levi'im, which also serve as Cities of Refuge for accidental man slaughterers, who flee there to escape retribution from next of kin.

The Sedra - and Sefer Bamidbar - concludes on a happy note, with a further discussion of the successful petition of the daughters of Zlafchad to have a portion in the Land, due to their intense love of Israel.

The Haftora is "Shimu d'var Hashem" (Jer. 2), continuing the Haftorot of Rebuke before 9 Av.

Rabbi Stewart Weiss
Was ordained at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and led congregations in Chicago and Dallas prior to making Aliyah in 1992. He directs the Jewish Outreach Center in Ra'anana, helping to facilitate the spiritual absorption of new olim.
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