Hebraic Studies - Parashat Mattos (No 2)
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On this site I will mostly use aversion based on the “Jewish Publication Society” (JPS) of the Torah/Tanakh
Although some minor alterations have been made relating to names and attributes having been corrected.
Please Note: Verse numbers may at times vary in non-Jewish Bibles.
Parashat Mattos No 2
Be’midbar – Numbers Chapter 30 verse 2 to Chapter 32 verse 42.
With Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.
Moshe, the Servant of Elohim
The Torah states,
“And spoke unto Moshe, saying: Avenge the
Even though the sad fact is, that Moshe clearly understood that his demise was dependent on the destruction of those troubling Midianites, he did not hesitate to perform the will of Elohim, blessed be He. And there is no doubt, for Moshe performed the request without any delay.
“And Moshe spoke unto the people, saying: ‘Arm ye men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian, to execute ’s vengeance on Midian’” Be’midbar - Numbers 31:2 (JPS).
If Moshe had chosen not to act immediately upon Elohim’s command, he could have extended his life. However, we see the praiseworthiness of Moshe that despite the fact that he understood that he would pass away, his response was still without any delay.
Why did Moshe perform the task with joy, knowing very well that not long after its completion he was going to pass away? But as we all should know, according to the Torah, when a mitzvah presents itself, one cannot be permitted to delay its performance. Moshe not only did not delay, he did it with joy, and I pray we will get to understand that, for if we will only uphold Elohim’s, blessed be He, loving mitzvah’s, how much better will our lives be!
The Torah states in the Portion of “Shelach”.
“Elohim said to Moshe, ‘Send thou men - “Shelach lecha anoshim” - ’” Be’midbar - Numbers 13:2 (JPS).
The best way to explain this verse - “Send thou men” is to mean that it certainly was in Moshe’s best interest to send the spies to scout-out the Land that would become Eretz Yisrael. By doing so, B’Nei Yisrael would fail and thus they be delayed in the desert and it would be additional thirty-eight years before they could enter the Promised Land.
There is a rabbinic
thought that it was decreed prior our ancestors departure from
Moshe did cry out in pain re the general situation, mostly as the people were grumbling so much!,
“And Moses returned unto , and said: ‘Lord, wherefore hast Thou dealt ill with this people? why is it that Thou hast sent me?’” … “And said unto Moses: ‘Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh’” Shemot - Exodus 5:22 & 6:1 (JPS).
When sadly the spies had
so badly failed regarding the reporting of the Land, it was decreed that the
generation between the ages of 20 and 60 should perish in the desert during the
next thirty-eight years. After they had failed regarding the spies, in retrospect,
Moshe understood the words of Elohim “Send for yourself” to mean that
it was in his best interest (extending his life), but also Moshe was the best
person to prepare the new younger generation, who would be entering the “
Regarding the war that needed to be waged against Midian, there was no allusion whatsoever to indicate that Moshe, for the sake of extending his life, should initiate any level of delay. He therefore instructed the people immediately to go to war and destroy the Midianites. He understood that although gaining the additional years of life, did allow the people to be further influenced by his faith, leadership and teachings for an extended period, and when it was time for him to pass away, so it would be in fulfillment of Elohim’s decree, blessed be His Sanctified Name!
The reason Elohim did not annul the decree and allow Moshe to enter
the Land was because it would have been detrimental to B’Nei
Yisrael. Anything in which Moshe had participated in
developing and establishing assumed a permanent and eternal status and thus
could not be destroyed. If Moshe would have entered into the Land, he may well
have built the
A verse in Prophets tells
us that at the time of the destruction of the
Initially when Moshe was informed by Elohim that he would pass away after the destruction of the Midianites, Moshe waged war against them without delay and with joy because he understood that for the sake of the eternity of the Jewish people and the Glory of Elohim he needed to pass away. However, in the Portion of “Va’eschanan” Moshe supplicated Elohim to evoke His Mercy to protect the B’nei Yisrael that they would not fail, thus he would be permitted to enter into the Land. When Elohim said to him not continue to pray, Moshe understood that his request could not be fulfilled.
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