Parshiot Matot-Massei, Get rid of the things that cause you to sin!


This week’s reading is a double portion from Parashat Matot and Masei (Bamidbar / Numbers 30:2-36:13).  Moshe speaks to the heads of the tribes of the sons if Yisrael saying א   וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-צִוָּה יְהוָֹה אֶת-מֹשֶׁה:   30:1 Then Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the sons of Israel, saying, ‘This is the word which the Lord has commanded. (NASB)  Moshe says that if a man makes an oath that he is not to violate his word (30:2) according to all that he speaks out of his mouth.  A woman who makes a vow to the Lord binds herself to her father’s house.  According to the Torah, the daughter’s father has the right to allow or disallow her from taking the vow (30:4-7).  The husband also has the right to allow or disallow his wife from taking a vow (30:8-15).  This confirms the place of the husband and wife, the man is over the woman in authority according to God’s design.  The Scriptures goes on to tell us that the Lord speaks to Moshe to take vengeance on the Midianites for the people of Yisrael (31:3).  One thousand from each tribe (12,000 men) are to go out to make war with Midian.  Pinchas is described as going with them to war (31:6).  The army kills the kings of Midian and captures the women and children, cattle and flocks, and all their goods as plunder (31:8-9).  The people burn the cities of Midian and then bring the spoils of war before Moshe.  Moshe becomes angry with the men of war for sparing all of the women, even the women who caused the men of Yisrael to sin (31:15).  Moshe commands that all the women who have had sexual relations with men and all of the boys are to be killed.  Only the girls who have not known a man sexually are to be kept alive.  Moshe goes on to say that everything that can withstand the fire of purification will be clean.  Those things that cannot withstand fire will be purified by water (31:21-24).  Moshe gives instruction on how to divide the spoils of war amongst the people and the Cohanim (31:25-47).  The people then brought an offering before the Lord from the spoils of war (31:48-54).  The Torah then records the sons of Reuben and Gad desiring to take the land of the Midianites as their land and Moshe describes this as discouraging the people from crossing over to the Promised land (32:1-10) so the Lord’s anger burned against the people again.  It is repeated that none of the people who come out of Mitzrayim from twenty years and older fully followed the Lord except Joshua and Caleb (32:11-12).  Moshe allows these men to build themselves houses and sheep folds when they promise to cross over the Jordan to help the sons of Yisrael take the Promised Land.  We then read a list recording the various places the children of Yisrael traveled and camped in the wilderness (Bamidbar 33).  The Torah then describes the boarders of the land of Yisrael (34:1-12).  Moshe then lists how the Promised Land is to be divided (34:13-35:15) and describes the cities of refuge to where the avenger of blood may travel.  The murderer may flee to the city of refuge so that he will not die before his trial.  The scriptures sayלב   וְלֹא-תִקְחוּ כֹפֶר לָנוּס אֶל-עִיר מִקְלָטוֹ לָשׁוּב לָשֶׁבֶת בָּאָרֶץ עַד-מוֹת הַכֹּהֵן: 35:32 ‘You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest. (NASB)  There is no ransom available for the murderer.  If a ransom is taken for a murderer it says that this will pollute the land because blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed by it except the blood of the one who shed it (לג   וְלֹא-תַחֲנִיפוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּהּ כִּי הַדָּם הוּא יַחֲנִיף אֶת-הָאָרֶץ וְלָאָרֶץ לֹא-יְכֻפַּר לַדָּם אֲשֶׁר שֻׁפַּךְ-בָּהּ כִּי-אִם בְּדַם שֹׁפְכוֹ:).  Moshe then describes how the inheritance is to pass between the sons of Yisrael so that each tribe’s inheritance remains within their respective tribe. Read more here.