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Masei ~ מסעי ~ 5774
The Torah names all 42 encampments of B’nei Yisrael on their 40 year journey from the Exodus until the crossing of the Jordan River into Eretz Yisrael. G-d commands B’nei Yisrael to drive out the Canaanites from Eretz Yisrael and to demolish every vestige of their idolatry. B’nei Yisrael is warned that if they fail to rid the land completely of the Canaanites, those who remain will be “pins in their eyes and thorns in their sides”.
The boundaries of the Land of Israel are defined, and the tribe is commanded to set aside 48 cities for the Levi’im, who do not receive a regular portion in the division of the Land. Cities of refuge are to be established; someone who murders unintentionally may flee there. The daughters of Tzelofchod marry members of their tribe so that their inheritance will stay in their own tribe. Thus, ends the Book of Bamidbar/Numbers, the fourth book of the Torah.
MAFTIR Numbers 36:11 – 13 ~ page 724
HAFTARAH Jeremiah 2:4 – 28, 3:4 ~ page 725 – 729
This is the second of the “3 Tragic Haftarot” read during the Three Weeks. It is the continuation of last week’s haftarah. These two haftarahs are the only continuous portions of the Prophets read as haftarahs on consecutive weeks. G-d, speaking through the prophet, chastises the people of Israel for the terrible double sin of forsaking Him AND turning to false gods. Repeatedly, we are asked how it was possible that we turned away from G-d. Terrible punishment for this betrayal of G-d is prophesied. The haftarah ends on the hopeful note that if we return to G-d, then He will return to us and restore His special relationship with us.
Parashah Study Questions
- Are 42 stops & encampments over 40 years excessive?
- Although it is accepted not to recite She’hechiyanu during the “Nine Days” – what about on Shabbat? What if the ‘new fruit’ won’t be available after Tisha’ B’av?
- Usually She’hechiyanu is recited at a Pidyon Haben or the birth of a baby girl. How does one acknowledge such Simcha during the Nine Days?
- Why is it customary to not move to a new house or apartment, go to court, or start a business during the Three Weeks? Any exceptions?
- One doesn’t recite She’hechiyanu on shoes or underclothing, may these be purchased during the Nine Days?