Parashat Matot-Masei

(Tribes-Journeys)

Numbers 30:2 - 36:13

Jeremiah 2:4 - 28; 3:4

In the portion Matot, Moses describes the laws of oaths. The Israelites battle the Midianites. The tribes of Reuven and Gad request to dwell outside of the Land of Israel. In Masei, the tribes of Reuven and Gad promise to help out the other tribes while not living in the land of Israel. God tells Moses exactly where each tribe will live. God clarifies the laws of murder. The daughters of Zelophehad receive their inheritance.

Cities Or Sanctuaries

Cities of Refuge are symbols of God's unconditional love and constant presence among people.

More on this Torah Portion

Parshat Masei: Summary

The sons of Reuben and Gad have promised Moses that they will help the other tribes settle the Promised Land before settling across the River Jordan.

Remember When…

Masei: A resource for families.

Real Change in the Torah

The most effective and enduring changes create justice for all members of society.

The Vows of Women

How can we stimulate and support women to fulfill their dreams?

Parashat Masei Quiz

Learn more about the weekly Torah portion.

Coping with Complexity

Awareness of the wholeness in the Torah opens our eyes to the wholeness of the world.

Parashat Matot Quiz

Learn more about the weekly Torah portion.

Creating Sustainable Freedom

All people must know that they have value.

The Wandering People

Everyone must have a safe place to be before anyone can feel at home.

Lessons for Regional Planning

The biblical migrash principle provides a response to urban sprawl.

Living in Balance

What accounts for the negative correlation between material excess and awareness of the Divine?

Journeying with the Divine

Every step of the Israelites' journey is framed in relation with God.

Refugee Awareness

Lessons from the biblical cities of refuge.

Valuing Journeys

A lesson from the Torah's treatment of the Israelites' travels.

Masei

Numbers 33:1-36:13

Mattot

Numbers 30:2-32:42

Lost Stories

The list of the Israelites' encampments during their journeys in the wilderness reminds us of the importance of preserving and retelling our own stories.

The Importance Of Intention

The Torah's establishment of Cities of Refuge introduces the idea that intention determines the meaning of an action.

Some Messages Are Hard To Deliver

The severity of the war against the Midianites should motivate us to examine our own behavior and root out our own forms of idolatry.

Holy Words

The laws of vows and the rabbinic cautions against making them teach the holiness and power of the spoken word.

Compassionate Conquest

The war against Midian teaches that when Israel does fight wars, they must fight with compassion and a minimum of casualties.

Green Spaces: A World Not Of Our Making

The Levites' city dwellings remind us of the importance of green, agricultural spaces for encountering God's creation.

Protecting The Sacredness Of Life

The laws of the Cities of Refuge emphasize the sacredness and infinite value of every human life.

My Word

The laws of vows teach that our words have the power to create holiness between us.

No Neutrality: Silence Is Assent

The laws of nullifying vows teach us that our silence and inaction in the face of contemporary injustice and oppression is akin to assenting to it.

Do We Have to Cross the Jordan?

The request of the tribes of Reuben and Gad to settle outside of the Land of Israel raises the issue of balancing communal and individual needs.

The Limits Of Power And Conquest

The Book of Numbers, full of bloodshed and division, ends with a call for unity and a discussion of the sanctity of life.

The Family Album

The list of places through which the Israelites traveled in the wilderness teaches us to understand Judaism through our everyday experiences.

Maintaining Monotheism

Our discomfort with the Torah's command to wipe out other nations stems from the contrast between that directive and the Torah's usual emphasis on respect for human life.