The list of the Israelites' encampments during their journeys in the wilderness reminds us of the importance of preserving and retelling our own stories.
This week's Torah portion records in detail the Jews journey through the wilderness, and for good reason. Without these stories, the future generations would have n"They set out from Rithmah and encamped at Rimmon-perez" (Numbers 33:19). This is one stage on the list of 42 such encampments described in the parashah that outlines our people's journey from slavery to freedom.
What is the use of this list? We know it is important because the text itself tells us so: "Moses recorded the starting points of their various marches as directed by Adonai" (Numbers 33:2). Since God commanded Moses to write the list, we can be sure that there is an important reason for it, but its purpose is still not obvious.o way of knowing what our ancestors went throughMORE
Moses records the journeys of the sons of Israel from when they were led out of Egypt by Moses and Aaron, from the first month of the fifteenth day, on the morning after the Pesach offering when the sons of Israel went out before the eyes of all the Egyptians. For God had struck them down with the death of the first-born, with judgment upon their gods. God talks to Moses. “Tell the people that when you cross into the land of Canaan, you shall drive out all people who live there and destroy all their symbols, idols and places of worship. I have given this land to you. If you do not drive out the people who live there then those left behind will become like a thorn in your side. They will oppress you as enemies in the land in which you dwell and, it will come to pass that what I had intended to do to them, I will do to you.”Continue
With regard to a society where murderers can evade punishment through bribery, the Torah admonishes
"Do not defile the land in which you live and in which I live." (Num. 35:34)
In what way does allowing murderers go unpunished 'defile the land'? And why does the Torah emphasize that this is the land where both you and God dwell?
The Sages taught in Shabbat 33a:
"For the crime of bloodshed, the Temple is destroyed and the Shechinah [God's Presence] departs from Israel. As it says, "Do not defile the land in which you live and in which I live." If you do defile it, you will not dwell in it, nor will I dwell in it."
Jews Wandering Map
by Haim Sabato
The Jewish people and its national infrastructure are a cumulative result of many different factors: all of the Israelites' experiences and all the events in which they participate in the wilderness; the relationships between individuals leading up to the creation of the tribes; their attitude toward Moses; their behavior toward God; the difficulties of life in the wilderness and the way they deal with them; and, especially, freedom's long educational process from the time of bondage in Egypt until liberation in the form of the tribes of God. This is a process that entails major and difficult inner transformations, moments of greatness and moments of abysmal decline. Thus not one journey in the Israelites' passage through the wilderness can be omitted. That is why the Bible tells us: "And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord."Continue
A prophecy of destruction that is rife with metaphor.
The Ashkenazic custom is to read Jeremiah 2:4-28 and 3:4. The Sephardic custom is to read Jeremiah 2:4-28 and 4:1-2
The haftarah for Parashat Masei is the second in the series of three haftarot that are read between the 17th
of Tammuz and the ninth of Av, all of which describe Israel's oppression and destruction (tlata depuranuta). Though it is not thematically connected to the parashah, the haftarah evokes the sense of mourning that characterizes this period in the Jewish calendar.
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