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Shabbat Shalom - Part 3

Masei (TRAVELS) Numbers 33:1 – 36:13

Masei (Travels) Numbers 33:1 – 36:13 The Bible recognizes the most basic of human passions, but limits them in order to force human beings to control their behavior.  Chapter 35 details the rules of cities of refuge that are established throughout the Land of Israel, three on the eastern side of the Jordan and three on […]

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Matot (Tribes) Numbers 30:2 – 32:42

Moses then reminds them of the sin of the spies who had returned from the Land of Israel and spoke ill of the land, causing the people to doubt the success of their imminent entry. God’s response, of course, was to punish the people and delay the entry for an additional 38 years. Moses fears that if Reuben and Gad remain in the land east of the Jordan, the rest of the people will refuse to enter. After years of experience with the Children of Israel, Moses is quite aware that the littlest provocation can instill fear and lack of faith in the people.

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Matot/Masei  (Tribes/Travel) Numbers 30:2 – 36:13

The people of Israel are the only people in the world who were exiled from their land for 2,000 years and yet remained intact as a people and as a faith. What kept us going all those years was the fact that we had the Torah, the Bible, as a guide through the years of exile, and we had a land to yearn for.

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Nitzavim (Standing) – Deuteronomy 29:9 – 30:20

This week’s portion includes Moses’ last speech to the nation before the final poem that is Chapter 32 and the blessings in Chapter 33. Chapter 30 is often referred to as the “Return” chapter, including, as it does, references to both a physical and spiritual return to God and the Land of Israel. But a close examination of the verses in this chapter reveals a confusing sequence of events.

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Ekev (Because) Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25

Throughout their desert experience, the Children of Israel felt the pull to return to Egypt, and Moses needed to enable them to understand the advantages of freedom, which is accompanied by servitude to G-d. Therefore, it was critical that the Children of Israel be reliant upon G-d for their food and water and understand that simple food and water from G-d as free persons is preferable to watermelon and fish in Egypt as slaves.

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Va’etchanan (And I Beseeched) Deuteronomy 3:23 – 7:11

The Torah portion is uplifting as well. For in this week’s portion, we read the Ten Commandments, as repeated by Moses in Deuteronomy. For this section of the Torah reading the entire congregation stands, as if to relive that incredible experience at Mt. Sinaiso many centuries ago.

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