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Friday, July 25, 2014 • 7:08 pm
• Our Portion for the Week •
MASE – Numbers 33:1 – 36:13
This SIDRAH reports on the wanderings of Israel from the time that they left Egypt to the time they reached the borders of Canaan. Forty encampment places are named – beginning with Rameses in Egypt and ending with the Plains of Moab by the Jordan River at Jericho. Soon they would be entering the land promised them by God. Moses warns Israel that, when they settle in Canaan, they must destroy all of the pagan temples of the Canaanites. Israel must take no part in the Canaanite idol worship. If Israel failed to comply with this command they would run into great trouble.
The SIDRAH gives a detailed description of what were to be the boundaries of the Land of Israel. Moses appointed ten Israelite leaders, under the supervision of Eleazar and Joshua, to deal with the distribution of land among the tribes. The tribe of Levi, whose members were to serve as the religious teachers of the Israelites, was to be distributed among special residential cities, with land attached to each, spread among the territories of the other tribes. There were to be about forty-eight of these Levitical cities.
The SIDRAH reports on cities of refuge, of which there were to be six, in various parts of the land. Should a man kill another by accident, he could seek refuge in these specially assigned cities from those who might want revenge. In these cities a man was safe until his case could be tried.
The SIDRAH and the Book of Numbers ends with laws concerning the inheritance of property by women.
• Our Question for the Week •
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. Moses recorded the starting points of their various marches as directed by the Lord.
The Torah devotes 49 verses to the list of the stages of the Israelites' journey in the wilderness. Why? About half of the places listed are not mentioned elsewhere in the Torah and we do not know what happened there. What can we infer about the wilderness years from this list? What questions do you wish the Torah had answered?