Parshat Mattot

(Numbers: 30:2-32:42)
(Haftara: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3)

1. [30:2] When giving a commandment, Moshe usually tells the Israelites directly. However, when introducing vows and oaths which limit a person, Moshe tells the leaders of the people. Since these commandments apply to every Israelite, why does Moshe address the leaders?

2. [30:2] If someone makes a vow, for example, not to eat apples, and then violates that vow, what is the nature of that violation in the eyes of God? Is it as if that person ate pig or some other forbidden food?

3. [32:1] Two and a half of the tribes of Israel had many cattle and wanted to remain on the other side of the Jordan River in order to take advantage of the pasture land there. An agreement was made which would allow them to stay on the other side of the Jordan. How can this agreement be possible? Wasn’t the purpose of everything that came before, to be in the very holy and special land of Israel?

4. [32:20-24] In making an agreement with Moshe, the two and a half tribes are told that they must make a double condition (if you do it, good. If you don’t do it, not good). In the Talmud, this double expression is considered the requirement for every conditional agreement. Why is this requirement for a double condition so important in halacha?

5. [32:8-15] Moshe very forcefully says that he will not allow the two and a half tribes to live on the other side of the Jordan River. Then the tribes offer to fight on the front lines and Moshe agrees to their request. Does this necessarily mean that Moshe compromised his principles?

[30:3] “…Let him not violate his word. Anything that comes out of his mouth, he should do.”

If the pasuk says, “Let him not violate his word”, then we know that “whatever comes out of his mouth, he should do”. Why is that idea repeated?

There is a type of person who seems very idealistic. He or she loves all of humanity and is committed to Truth. However, this pure attitude is only true on the theoretical level, and the person, while loving humanity, is annoyed by the people in his or her daily life. And while loving the Truth, he or she constantly lies constantly lies and doesn’t keep his or her word. The Torah, by repeating this idea, is telling us that one cannot love the Truth unless the words that come out of one’s mouth are truthful and sincere.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker

And to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

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