Parshat Matot – Masey – 2010
“And the Lord spoke to Moshe saying: Command the Children of Israel and say to them, when you come into the Land of Kenaan, this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance with its borders”.
Parshat Masey begins with the motion of the journeys of the Bnei Yisrael on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Always on the move, each footstep and every march through the forty two stations in the desert held ramifications of “cheshbone nefesh” (soul searching). They wandered and wondered all the while asking “Where do we belong?” At the end of forty years they arrived at their final destination, to the confined borders of their inheritance. This is the merging of Chesed (motion) and Gevurah (boundaries) thus creating the vessel of the Land of Israel where the people of Israel were contained. They were told to clean the vessel of its impurity, making the place fit for holiness. This preparation had to be done by them when they arrived there. Although their travels were over, their work IN the land was not. Again, like Abraham who had been promised the land but had to pay for it, till its soil, wage war and purge it of paganism. Nevertheless, this was the ultimate prize the Bnei Yisrael received from Hashem after leaving Egypt and nursing torah, which were prerequisites for this finale.
A parable our Rabbis share with us on this play by play description of this expedition, of the effort that went into it, the no end in sight feeling of it, and the reward for it at the finish line. They tell of a King who asked his son to accompany him on a long and hard journey. Happily, the son agreed despite the time and effort he knew he had to put in. Towards the end of the trek father took son to a high hill and pointed to a castle in the distance.” This is yours, son.” It was waiting here for you all along.
The book of Jeremiah (2:2) recounts “Thus says the L-rd: I remember in thy favor the devotion of thy youth when thou didst go after me in the wilderness in a land that was not sown- Israel is holy to the L-rd”.
Parenting is sometimes not an easy thing. We spend a great deal of our lives nourishing, providing for, worrying for, and investing our greatest energies into our children only for them to leave us ultimately. The torah in this portion teaches us that the trek we make together, through thick and thin lead us to a new reality for the next generation. It is a new frontier that we helped them reach together with their faith in us. But the work is never done. It’s up to the next generation to “take the bull by the horns” because even the Promised Land that is mounted on a silver tray and handed to them has yet more tasks and more jobs to get done. That’s when it’s their turn to take over. Sadly, Moshe Rabbeinu never enters the Land. His babysitting time is over and a new page is turned in the book of the adventures of the Children of Israel. Now they had become young adults who had to go out and work for their living. They received the greatest gift in their final independence in leaving the Midbar – inheriting the Land.
Shabbat Shalom, Leah Goldsmith