Torah Portion: Masa’ei (Stages) B’midbar (Numbers) 33:1-36:13
HafTorah: Jeremiah 2:4-28
In this Torah section that finishes the book of B’Midbar or Numbers it begins with a recount of the journeys of Israel from their exit from Egypt until their arrival to the border of their inheritance. It covers the setting up of the cities of refuge and the division of the land.
I want us to cover a few issues in these verses as well as look at the HafTorah in Jeremiah 2:4-28. Although we have spoken of the subject of journey’s before let me take a moment to refresh each of us. Here we see Moses setting out the journeys of Israel as they went out of Egypt. Really the first journey was the only one that went out of Egypt so why does Moses say it this way? Each of us has come out of Egypt but it takes awhile to get Egypt out of us. It also takes a life time for us to reach the spiritual maturity that G-d desires of us. Paul alludes to this in the New Testament in Acts 20:23-24. Our lives are a series of journeys, each has a purpose – to mature us, to bring us closer to our inheritance. I expect each of us are in or will be in such a journey. They are for our good and not our harm. I encourage you. G-d loves you and by allowing challenges into our lives He desires for us to grow in Him.
Weekly Torah Section: Chukat (Statute) Numbers 19:1-22:1, HafTorah Judges 11:1-33
In Judges we read about a crisis that had come upon the people of Gilead – a territory to the Northeast of what is the land of Israel today. The people or leaders of Gilead asked Jephthah, ( Ephtach in Hebrew), to save them from the Ammonite King who was demanding their surrender. Jephthah first tried diplomacy but that didn’t work. He then goes out and defeats the Ammonites but at a high cost. Before going into battle he made an oath or vow to G-d. What was that vow? Look in Judges 11:31. Why did he make such a vow? Did he not know what the Torah said? Yes in fact he recited the past history of the Jewish people to the King of Ammon. So he did know the Torah. He was not ignorant so why did he make this vow? Could it have been pride or arrogance? In Leviticus 27:4 it says that a female vowed to the L-rd could be redeemed for 30 shekels of silver donated to the sanctuary. So even after making the vow he could have redeemed his daughter for 30 shekels of silver.