|Questions and Concepts for Matot-Masei
(Numbers 30:2 - 36:13)
- One of this weeks Torah Parshas is called
"Masei" which means "journeys." This is of course associated with the
segments of their journey out of Egypt to the Land of Israel. The Parsha however, tells us
not so much of the "journeying" but rather of the stops they made along the way
42 in all.
- Egypt was called "Mitzrayim" by the Hebrews, meaning "a
place of confinement." How were the Jews confined in their ability to serve God while
in Egypt? If we think in personal terms, these 42 stages can be said to mirror our own
lives as we journey from our own personal "exodus from Egypt" toward our
destination, which would be the spiritual counterpart of the Land of Israel. What are some
of the physical, mental and emotional "Egypts" that we pass through in life?
- At Sinai they received the Torah, which gave them the freedom to serve
God. Consider what Yaacov ("James") meant when he wrote, "But he
who looks into the perfect Torah of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful
hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."
- The 42 segments of the Hebrews journey had both "good"
and "bad" moments, which were all part of their spiritual growth. How can what
appear to be "bad" events in our own journey be seen as having a positive reason
for occurring? How does this mirror what Rabbi Shaul (Paul) meant when he wrote,
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who
have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)?
- Sometimes we may "fail" at certain junctures of our spiritual
journey. This is where teshuvah ("repentance") comes into play. How can someone
who falls (through sin) and ascends (through teshuvah) rise to even greater spiritual
heights than someone who did not go through this process?
- It is said that the Torah was given due to sin. How can this be seen in
the law of taking of oaths? Compare this to what Yeshua said of the Torahs laws
concerning divorce in Matthew 19:8? Compare what Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 5:5-7 to
what Yeshua says in Matthew 5:33-37.
- Upon nearing the Land of Israel, the tribes of Reuben and Gad, plus a
portion of Mennasah, indicated a desire to settle apart from the other tribes, outside the
Land of Israel. Later, when Israel went into exile, these same tribes were the first to be
taken into captivity (I Chronicles 5:26). What does this teach us about God's desire for
"unity among the brethren?"
- CONSIDER THIS CONCEPT:
As the Jews progressed along the 42 legs of their journey, things did not necessarily
get any "easier" for them. As they went forward, there were less and less
"overt miracles" and more effort was required on their part. Note that the Torah
tells us (in the "Shema" Deuteronomy 6:5), "And you shall
love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your
resources." The Shema can also be seen as "going from easiest to
hardest." First we love God emotionally, which can come with little effort. Then we
seek Him out in study and prayer, which takes some labor on our part. Finally we "put
it on the line" by showing our love for him is more important that material