Our Stories

Torah Talk for Parashat Matot-Masei

August 3, 2016 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

In Parashat Matot, Moshe describes the laws of oaths; the Bnei Yisrael battle the Midianites; and the tribes of Reuven and Gad request to dwell outside of the Land of Israel. In Masei, the final parasha in the book of Bemidbar (Numbers), the Bnei Yisrael stand on the banks of the Jordan River, ready to enter into the Promised Land. The path of their journey is reviewed; the laws pertaining to the division of the Land are given; the boundaries of the Land are described; instructions are given to establish cities for the Levi’im (Levites) as well as Arei Miklat (Cities of Refuge); and the claim on the land of the daughters of Tzelophchad is affirmed.

The parasha opens with, “Moshe spoke to the heads of the tribes of Bnei Yisrael saying, ‘This is the thing that Hashem commanded.'” The Hebrew word for “tribes” in this verse is “matot.” Another word that the Torah commonly uses for “tribes” is “shevet.” Why does the Torah contain two words that apparently convey the same meaning? Read more >