I hope you had a great week! =)
– Parshat Matot begins telling us the laws of making a promise. We can’t break a promise!
-Hashem commands Moshe to fight the Midianites, so Moshe gathers 1,000 men to go to war. When the Midianites see the Jewish army they are sure they will be victorious, because the Jews are few. Yet, Hashem miraculously causes the Jews to win.
-Two tribes, Reuven and Gad, ask Moshe if they can live on the other side of the Jordan River, instead of going into Israel. They have a lot of cattle, and the land outside of Israel has fertile land with grass for their cattle to graze. At first Moshe is very angry, but they promise him that they will help the rest of the tribes conquer the land of Israel, and then go settle outside. Moshe then agrees, and half of the tribe of Menashe joins the tribes of Reuven and Gad.
-Parshat Maasei begins naming the 42 stops the Jews made on their journey in the desert. Then the parsha lists the borders of Israel.
-The last thing we read about is that the Jews are commanded to build six cities of refuge in Israel. If someone kills another person by accident they can run to a city of refuge and are protected from the relatives of the murdered person who may try to get revenge.
Before listing the places that the Jews went to before reaching Israel, the Torah says, “These are the journeys of the Jewish nation as they came out of the land of Egypt.” Why does it say “journeys?” It was one journey, from the city of Ramses to Sukkot, when Jews to come out of Egypt! The city of Sukkot is not in Egypt.
The Torah is talking to every Jew. Everyone has their own “Egypt”, which refers to difficult situations where we must pick from right or wrong, and we have a desire to pick the wrong. This evil inclination is our Yezter Harah. When we overcome our desire and pick the right, we may think we are done. Yet there will always be decisions in life where we must choose right from wrong, and it is our job to always pick the right.