Shabbat Shalom! – Matot-Masei

This week we have a combined Torah portion, Matot-Masei. Matot means “tribes” and Masei means “journeys.” These two portions are often combined in the Hebrew calendar.

Matot begins with a set of commands about nedarim [vows or commitments.] This set of commands gives rise to an entire volume of Talmud, Nedarim. It continues with an account of a battle against the Midianites, and the fallout from that battle. Masei offers us an account of the journeys of the Israelites, followed by a fascinating set of commandments setting up the “Cities of Refuge.” Finally, we hear from the family of Zelophechad again, in Part II of their saga.

Notice, too, that we are also in the Three Weeks of communal mourning before Tisha B’Av. The haftarot on these Shabbats are haftarot that abjure us to take notice of our behavior in this world. This week Jeremiah 2:4 – 28and 3:4 rebukes us for faithless behavior.

Our online darshanim this week have lots to say about this menu of topics:

Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild – Women’s Voices and the Public Space: Traditions and texts that must not disappear

Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz – Coming Out/Into the Promised Land (2016)

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat – Redeeming the Instruction to Displace & Destroy (2012)

Rabbi David Evan Markus – How to Take a Real Vacation

Rabbi Eve Posen – Parenting by the Parshah (2016)

 

 

 

Shabbat Shalom! – Matot-Masei

In a “leap” year such as we are having, it isn’t often we get a combined portion, but we have one this week with the combined portions of Matot and Masei. And good news – finally, all our calendars are realigned; all Jews everywhere are on the same page (of Torah, if not everything else.)

Today (Friday) is also Rosh Chodesh Av. The month of Av is the saddest month of the Jewish year, containing as it does the observance of Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av. Follow the link to learn more about that important fast day.

Notice, too, that we are also in the Three Weeks of communal mourning before Tisha B’Av. The haftarot on these Shabbats are haftarot that abjure us to take notice of our behavior in this world. This week Jeremiah 2:4 – 28 and 3:4 rebukes us for faithless behavior.

Our online darshanim this week have lots to say:

Redeeming the Instructions to Displace and Destroy by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

The Ascent of Women, the Ascent of All of Us by Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild

Trump, the Trail of Tears, and Parshat Ma’asei by Rabbi Amy Scheinerman

The Complexity of Human Rights by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Parashat Matot-Ma’asei by Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Stops Along the Way by Rabbi Eve Posen

Are We There Yet? by Rabbi Steven Kushner