July 18, 2020 – Mattot (“Tribes”) Massei (“Journeys”) – Parshat 42&43
- Torah: Numbers 30:2 – 36:13
- Haftara: Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4, 4:1-2
- Brit Chadasha: Luke 13:1-9; Mark 11:12-23
וַיְדַבֵּ֤ר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶל־רָאשֵׁ֣י הַמַּטּ֔וֹת לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר זֶ֣ה הַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֖ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָֽה׃
Vayedaber Moshe el-rashey hamatot livney Yisra’el lemor zeh hadavar asher tsivah Adonay.
Moses spoke to the heads of the Israelite tribes, saying: This is what the LORD has commanded: (Numbers 30:2)
אֵ֜לֶּה מַסְעֵ֣י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָצְא֛וּ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם לְצִבְאֹתָ֑ם בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁ֖ה וְאַהֲרֹֽן׃
Eleh mas’ey veney-Yisra’el asher yats’u me’erets Mitsrayim letsiv’otam beyad-Moshe ve’Aharon.
These were the marches of the Israelites who started out from the land of Egypt, troop by troop, in the charge of Moses and Aaron. (Numbers 33:1)
In the portion Mattot (Bemidbar 31:3a) Adonai tells Moshe to “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian, to execute the LORD’s vengeance on Midian.” Why not Moab as well? since we saw the council of Balaam was for Moab to entice the sons of Israel to “play the harlot with the daughters of Moab”(Numbers 25:17). YHVH says execute My vengeance upon Midian alone; and of Moab He says “Don’t bother Moab, neither contend with them in battle; (Devarim 2:9).
One answer is Israel was encamped in the land of Moab, while Midian joined themselves to a battle that was not their own, and were in array against the G-d of Israel in a spiritual conflict. Rashi says of them, “The Midianites interfered in a quarrel that did not concern them”[Rashi on Numbers 25:17-18] But a far greater reason is found in the line of the Mashiach. In that line of reasoning, Adonai spared Moab because He planned for the line of David and Messiah to spring forth thru Ruth the Moabitess; see [Yalkut Moshiach V’Geulah al haTorah (Vol 30; Pinchas)]
Also we see this idea in the following teaching: “Do not harass Moab, nor provoke them to war” (Deuteronomy 2:9). Would Moses have ever considered going to war with Moab without God’s permission? Of course not. But Moses reasoned from the light to the heavy: If in the case of the Midianites, who were only helping the Moabites, the Torah commanded, “Be hostile to the Midianites and strike them”, how much more should the same commandment apply to the Moabites? But the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: “Your thoughts are not as my thoughts. I have two doves to yet bring forth from the Moabites [and the Ammonites]: Ruth the Moabitess and Naamah the Ammonitess. [b.Bava Kama 38a-b]
When Avraham Avinu, blessed be he, plead for the cities in the plain he said to “The Malak of YHVH”.
B’reisheet 18:24&25 What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it? Be it far from you to do things like that, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be like the wicked. May that be far from you. Shouldn’t the Judge of all the earth do right?” and This angel says to Avraham Avinu. “He said, “I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake.”
The Father, our God, and our redeemer knows who we are and what we have, and will come out of, to be part of the fabric of the Memlacha HaEl. His kingdom in the earth. And he will not allow anything to threaten or alter his purposes concerning you. He is the King over every King, and the commander of the Angel Armies, He is Givrot the doer of Mighty deeds, and the author of Life. “Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”
Feel the favor and the blessing of your loving and patient Father this week as He watches over your “going out and your coming in” until Mashiach Yeshua makes it forevermore.
We end the reading of Bemidbar as we do each book of Torah with this exhortation! Chazak! Chazak! Venischazeik! Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!
Shalom Mish’pachah from Beth Hallel Lodi