Parsha Q&A - Parshat Matot/Masei
This publication is also available in the following formats: Explanation of these symbols
- Who may annul a vow?
- When may a father annul his widowed daughter's vows?
- Why were the Jewish People not commanded to attack Moav, as they were to attack Midian?
- Those selected to fight Midian went unwillingly. Why?
- What holy vessels accompanied the Jewish People into battle?
- Those who killed in the war against Midian were required to remain outside the "machaneh" (camp). Which machaneh?
- Besides removing traces of forbidden food, what else is needed to make metal vessels obtained from a non-Jew fit for a Jewish owner?
- "We will build sheep-pens here for our livestock and cities for our little ones." What was improper about this statement?
- During the conquest of the Land, where did Bnei Gad and Bnei Reuven position themselves?
- What promise did Bnei Gad and Bnei Reuven make beyond that which Moshe required?
- Why does the Torah list the places where the Jewish People camped?
- Why did the King of Arad feel at liberty to attack the Jewish People?
- What length was the camp in the midbar?
- Why does the Torah need to specify the boundaries that are to be inherited by the Jewish People?
- What was the nesi'im's role in dividing the Land?
- When did the three cities east of the Jordan begin to function as refuge cities?
- There were six refuge cities, three on each side of the Jordan. Yet, on the east side of the Jordan there were only two and a half tribes. Why did they need three cities?
- To be judged as an intentional murderer, the murderer must use what type of weapon?
- Why is the kohen gadol blamed for accidental deaths?
- When an ancestral field moves by inheritance from one tribe to another, what happens to it in yovel?
(kasha means "question")
F. V. from Holland asked:
Here's a question that has baffled me for years: Why in Parshat Matot is the casualty report given after the counting of the spoils? Moshe counted and apportioned all the spoils of the war against Midian (Bamidbar 31:25-46); afterward the captains reported, "We have taken a head-count of the warriors under our charge, and not one man is missing." (31:48-9) Shouldn't they have counted the soldiers first to see if any died? Aren't people more important than things?
The captains' report was not a casualty report. Rather, they were saying that they monitored every soldier during the entire battle, and not one was ever missing from surveillance; and hence, no one sinned with any of the Midianite women.
Do you have a KASHA? Write to email@example.com with your questions on any Parsha!
The phrases "Bnei Gad" and "Bnei Reuven" appear eight times in connection with taking their inheritance before the other tribes. Thus, the tribe of Gad and Reuven were exiled from that inheritance eight years before the other tribes.
All references are to the verses and Rashi's commentary, unless otherwise stated
30:2 - Preferably, an expert in the laws of nedarim. Otherwise, three ordinary people.
30:10 - If she is under 12 and 1/2 years old and widowed before she was fully married.
31:2 - Because Moav only acted out of fear against the Jewish People. Also, Ruth was destined to come from Moav.
31:5 - They knew that Moshe's death would follow.
31:6 - The aron and the tzitz.
31:19 - The Machaneh Shechina.
31:23 - Immersion in a mikveh.
32:16 - They showed more regard for their property than for their children.
32:17 - At the head of the troops.
32:24 - Moshe required them to remain west of the Jordan during the conquest of the Land. They promised to remain after the conquest until the Land was divided among the tribes.
33:1 - To show Hashem's love of the Jewish People. Although it was decreed that they wander in the desert, they did not travel continuously. During 38 years, they moved only 20 times.
33:40 - When Aharon died, the clouds of glory protecting the Jewish People departed.
33:49 - Twelve mil.
34:2 - Because certain mitzvot apply only in the Land.
34:17 - Each nasi represented his tribe. He also allocated the inheritance to each family in his tribe.
35:13 - After Yehoshua separated three cities west of the Jordan.
35:14 - Because murders were more common there.
35:16 - One capable of inflicting lethal injury.
35:25 - He should have prayed that such things not occur.
36:4 - It remains with the new tribe.
Written and Compiled by Rabbi Eliyahu Kane & Rabbi Reuven Subar
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
Production Design: Michael Treblow
© 2000 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved. This publication may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue newsletters. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission, and then send us a sample issue.
Ohr Somayach Institutions is an international network of Yeshivot and outreach centers, with branches in North America, Europe, South Africa and South America. The Central Campus in Jerusalem provides a full range of educational services for over 685 full-time students.
The Jewish Learning Exchange (JLE) of Ohr Somayach offers summer and winter programs in Israel that attract hundreds of university students from around the world for 3 to 8 weeks of study and touring.
Copyright © 2000 Ohr Somayach International. Send us Feedback.
Dedication opportunities are available for Parsha Q&A. Please contact us for details.