THE TORAH READING FOR 1 AV 5781 JULY 9-10, 2021
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/matot-mas-ei
Matot – Mas’ei (מַּטּוֹת – Hebrew for “tribes” and מַסְעֵי – Hebrew for journeys/marches) – Numbers 30:2–36:13
Moses spoke to the heads of the Israelite tribes, saying: “This is what the Eternal has commanded: If a householder makes a vow to the Eternal or takes an oath imposing an obligation on himself, he shall not break his pledge; he must carry out all that has crossed his lips.” – Numbers 30:2-3
- Moses explains to the Israelites the laws concerning vows made by men and women. (30:2-17)
- Israel wages war against the Midianites. (31:1-18)
- The laws regarding the spoils of war are outlined. (31:19-54)
- The tribes of Reuben and Gad are granted permission to stay on the east bank of the Jordan River. (32:1-42)
- The itinerary of the Israelites through the wilderness from Egypt to Jordan is delineated. (33:1-49)
- Moses tells Israel to remove the current inhabitants of the land that God will give them and to destroy their gods. (33:50-56)
- The boundaries of the Land of Israel are defined, along with those of the Levitical cities and the cities of refuge. (34:1-35:15)
- God makes a precise distinction between murder and manslaughter. (35:16-34)
- The laws of inheritance as they apply to Israelite women are delineated. (36:1-13)
The Haftarah is Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4, 4:1-2 or Isaiah 66:1-13, 23
From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matot
In most years (all coming years until 2035 in the Diaspora, until 2022 in Israel), parashah Matot is combined with the next parashah, Masei, to help achieve the number of weekly readings needed. This double portion ends the book of Numbers.
From Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masei
When parashah Matot is combined with parashah Masei [as it is this year], the haftarah is the haftarah for parashah Masei:
For Ashkenazi Jews: Jeremiah 2:4–28 & 3:4.
For Sephardi Jews: Jeremiah 2:4–28 & 4:1–2.
When the parashah coincides with Shabbat Rosh Chodesh [as it does this year] Isaiah 66:1-13 and 66:23 are added to the haftarah.
From My Jewish Learning https://www.myjewishlearning.com/
In the portion Matot, Moses describes the laws of oaths. The Israelites battle the Midianites. The tribes of Reuven and Gad request to dwell outside of the Land of Israel. In Masei, the tribes of Reuven and Gad promise to help out the other tribes while not living in the land of Israel. God tells Moses exactly where each tribe will live. God clarifies the laws of murder. The daughters of Zelophehad receive their inheritance.
The haftarah for Parashat Masei is the second in the series of three haftarot that are read between the 17th of Tammuz and the ninth of Av, all of which describe Israel’s oppression and destruction (tlata depuranuta [tribulation/calamity]). Though it is not thematically connected to the parashah, the haftarah evokes the sense of mourning that characterizes this period in the Jewish calendar.
The haftarah begins exactly where the previous week’s haftarah ended, with the prophet Jeremiah rebuking the people for abandoning God. He laments that the people have failed to remember that God took them from the land of Egypt, guided them through the dangers of the wilderness, and gave them a land full of bountiful fruit. He notes that it wasn’t just the common people who are guilty–the priests, Torah scholars, rulers, and prophets have all sinned.
So as not to end on a negative note, Ashkenazic communities add a verse to the end of the haftarah which calls Israel the companion of God’s youth (3:4). Sephardic communities jump ahead two chapters, and read verses promising that if Israel returns to God, they shall become a blessing among the nations of the world (4:1-2).
COMPLETING A BOOK OF TORAH
The Book of Numbers ends with the following statement: “These are the commandments and the ordinances, which the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.” Like the Book of Leviticus before it, which ends with a similar statement referring to the commandments given on Mount Sinai, these two books of Torah are the only ones to end in this way.
As we complete each book of the Torah, it is customary to repeat the words “Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazeik.” These words, understood as “Congratulations!” actually have a more profound message. They can be translated as either “Be strong, be strong, and we will be encouraged” or “Be strong, be strong, and we will make an effort.” The first part of the phrase uses the singular form; the individual should be strengthened. The second part uses the plural form, indicating two key outcomes of individual strength: not only the individual, but also the collective of which she or he is a part can be encouraged by the message and add its efforts to those of the individual.
Sefardic/Mizrahi Jews say “Chazak U’baruch” (“strength and blessing”) at the end of every single individual Torah reading; the response is “Chazak Ve’ematz” (“be strong and have courage” from Deut. 31:23) or “Baruch Tihiye” (“may you be blessed.”)
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
The triennial reading is Numbers 32:1-33:49. The part from Matot includes the request of the tribes of Reuven and Gad to settle across the Jordan, their settlements, and goes onto their agreement in Mas’ëi “to go before the Lord to war” in assisting the other tribes. Mas’ëi also lists all the places the Israelites encamped from the start of their leaving Egypt to just before entering the Promised Land. It includes Aaron’s death on 1 Av at the age of 123 (he was 83 when he left Egypt.)
At the Temple Sinai Tuesday Morning Minyan, the Darshan (דַּרְשָׁן or דַּרְשָׁנִית – Hebrew for “deliverer of the d’rash”) pointed out that Torah lists 42 places where the Israelites encamped on their way to the Promised Land. Fourteen of them took place in the first year after leaving Egypt. Eight of them took place in the last year of Moses’ life. Twenty took place in the 38 years of wandering, with most of the time encamped at Kadesh.
ROSH CHODESH AV
The Jewish month of Av starts the evening of Friday, July 9, 2021. Av is the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar and the eleventh month of the civil calendar. It signals a period of preparation for Rosh Hashanah, which is two short months away.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
ROSH CHODESH on SHABBAT – AVODAH insert FOR THE NEW MONTH p.174
Our God and God of our fathers and mothers, on this first day of the new month be mindful of us and all Your people Israel, for good, for love, for compassion, life and peace.
Remember us for wellbeing. Amen.
Visit us with blessing. Amen. Help us to a fuller life. Amen.
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence especially against all minority communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, the 1st through the 7th of Av, we lovingly remember:
Chaya bat Yitzchak
Mother of TKH member Ruben Gomez
TKH Memorial Board
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, July 9, 2021.
Zoom continues updating its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Triennial Reading Num. 32:1-33:49
Time: July 9, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: July 9, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!