Leah’s Blog Matot Massei 2023
Matot – Masei July 2023
Living here has its advantages; from this mountain you can view terrain spoken about in the portions of the Torah, like right now. My spirit soars here transcending anything and everything in the world happening as our car drives up to the overlook of the Tirtzah stream, way up on Mount Kabir. Looking down into the inheritance of the Bnot Tzofchahd, a green patchwork of plowed fields running along the trickle that makes its way east; I feel the cool breeze under this surviving oak. Keeping in mind that barren areas in the backdrop were once forests and that the river Jordan flowed clean and powerfully then- still- this is the place. Located in the hub of biblical Israel, you know a deeper insight into these places and these people: women that demanded an inheritance in the land. I feel what they felt, the heightened awareness of themselves in relation to the Land and the nation of Israel. The particular angle and vision they had also left personal considerations aside, much like the women I am honored to know that have set up farms along the edge of Elon Moreh sloping down to Tirtzah. Risking their own lives literally they are pushing back on encroachment. Just a thin artery is left open into the heart of Israel- it is right here. A bird of prey soars off the cliff, gliding above this territory. Juxtaposing the story of the tribes of Reuven who asked to settle on the eastern side of the Jordan (which I can see as plain as day), the Torah teaches out that first fulfill your collective responsibilities then do what you want. The Bnot Zlofchahd as women, as mothers, spouses and caretakers were the first to settle, true to their word in their advocacy for Eretz Yisrael, they yearned for this valley.
These portions also teach us about vows, seemingly a separate topic. The women that demanded to settle in Tirtzah fulfill the vow about being true women living in harmony and active connection, in having a relationship with Eretz Yisrael. Fulfilling their rightful by ownership deed to the Land was like consummating the marriage to it. These are the true brides, these are their vows. They are who they are: women. In formulating identities while I listen and read the Parsha, when I look into their inheritance and touch it, I grasp what devotion means, impacting my own definition of particular oneness with this place. Women instinctively are passionate about home and family, it has been that way since the beginning of time. Before this generation of end times this was an ingrained trait in all women. We are living now in an era of abandonment of self, truth of who we are is unraveling. This is represented in the drive to force a Jewish presence out of Judea Samaria and to drive women out of their own conclusive womanhood. The adoration and affection of the Bnot Zlofchad teach us a most crucial lesson at this most trying time: ADVOCACY for the truth of who you are- demand it at this most crucial time of history!
Reuven, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh teach us the power of helping Israel even while I’m not really living in it. Each story here comes to teach us about our stance on yearning for Eretz Yisrael, and the willingness to put it first before we become satisfied to live on the other side.
Now we must renew our vows, to reconnect to who we are and where we need to be at this time.
Shabbat Shalom! Leah