The severity of the war against the Midianites should motivate us to examine our own behavior and root out our own forms of idolatry.
The laws of vows and the rabbinic cautions against making them teach the holiness and power of the spoken word.
The war against Midian teaches that when Israel does fight wars, they must fight with compassion and a minimum of casualties.
The laws of vows teach that our words have the power to create holiness between us.
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.
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.
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.