Parshat Mattot-Masay

(Numbers: 30:2-36:13)

(Haftara: Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4, 4:1,2)

(Pirkei Avot 2)


  1. [32:1] “And the sons of Reuven had a lot of cattle…” 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 goal of leaving Egypt to be a unique nation in the very holy and special land of Israel?
  1. [36:3] “…their inheritance will be taken away from the inheritance of their fathers…” The Torah prefers that the land of one tribe remain within that tribe. However we know that one of the most important values of the Torah is unity between people. What is the Torah’s message here? Do we want unity or do we want clear differentiation?
  1. [3 weeks before Tisha b’Av] We are now in the 3 weeks before Tisha b’Av. During these days we prepare for mourning for the first and second Temples and many other tragedies in Jewish history. The Temples, however, are just physical structures. What does the Temple and its service represent that would make us mourn so deeply.
  1. [Pirkei Avot 2:1] “Be as careful with a minor mitzvah as with a major one, because you don’t know the rewards for the mitzvot.” We do know that some mitzvoth are more important than others. For example, Shabbat is very important and the mitzvoth of kindness are the most important. Therefore their rewards should be greater than those of other mitzvoth. What does the mishna mean when it says that one should not make a distinction between mitzvoth?
  1. [Pirkei Avot 2:2] “…all Torah study that is not accompanied with work will ultimately be forgotten and cause sin.” One would think that the more Torah one learns, the richer one’s life is in every way. Why does being involved in the world help a person acquire and retain Torah?


The higher holiness is full of love, compassion and tolerance, when it is in its most perfect state… The more intense the search for God is in a person’s heart, the more the love of all people will grow in him.

–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.


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

—Eli Zucker

And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer



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