Parashas Mattos

Missed last week’s parasha? I was stuck without internet so I didn’t get to post but you can now find the summary of Parashas Pinchas here!

Parashas Mattos opens up speaking about vows, from making them to breaking them to canceling them.

Next the Jewish people attack the nation of Midyan, in return for the destruction Midyan wrought on the Jewish people. Midyan is hit very hard, but upon the army’s return, Moshe Rabbeinu rebukes them: “Did you let the women live?” The women are the ones who made the Jews sin! He instructs the Jews in who to kill and who to keep alive.

Following the war, the Jewish people learn the laws of dividing up spoils, kashering utensils, and how to split everything up between all the different groups in the nation.

The tribes Reuven and Gad approach Moshe Rabbeinu to make a special request: they would like to take residence outside of Eretz Yisroel in the land of Yazer and Gil’ad as it is fertile land for raising livestock. Moshe Rabbeinu is incredulous: how can these tribes settle into their new homes and leave the rest of the nation to go fight for the Land? Reuven and Gad clarify that they will settle their families, and then come and help the Jews conquer Eretz Yisroel before settling into their homes.

Moshe Rabbeinu tells these tribes that they can do as they ask only if they come and fight with the rest of the nation ’til the end. They agree, and the parasha ends with Reuven and Gad and half of the tribe of Menashe setting up cities in Eiver laYarden, the transJordan area, making it a part of Eretz Yisroel.

I think that one of the most beautiful things we can learn from this parasha is about the love for Eretz Yisroel, the Land of Israel, that is natural to every Jew. The daughters of Tzelafchad are a prime example. They wanted a portion in the land because it was their land, their heritage, their home. Israel is part of every Jew, a part of our lives.

With what’s going on in Israel right now it’s easy to identify Israel as our land. We all can feel for what’s going on there because our family and friends are in danger. It’s not always like that, though, and no matter what is going on, our homeland is ours and it’s the most beautiful place on earth.

The Israel Defense Forces are currently fighting a ground operation in Gaza. Everywhere around the world, Jews are praying for their success and for the safety of all our brethren who are in our home country.

What are you doing to help?

Have a great, safe Shabbos!