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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat Matot-Mas'ei (July 6, 2013)
by Rabbi David M. Posner

CHAPTER 32 OF Parashat Matot gives us fascinating insight into the Jewish scale of values, the responsibility that groups and individuals must feel for the community at large, a leader’s role in formulating such values and responsibilities, and the methods the leader uses to communicate the values and responsibilities to the nation at large. The setting for this episode was the request that the tribes of Gad and Reuben be permitted to settle on the east bank of the Jordan (the land of Gilead) instead of crossing the Jordan with the other 10 tribes and settling on the west bank of the Jordan, that is the Land of Israel proper. Had it not been for this ultimately successful request, then the west bank would have been owned jointly by all the tribes.

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