Saturday, 27 July 2019

Parshah Mas'ei

Train Ride: R Eliyahu Safran
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." 
~ Ernest Hemingway
http://www.ou.org/torah/parsha/parsha-from-ou/masei-journey-lives/

 
Kol Tuv,
RRW

Parsha: Matot/Maasei, "How did Hatzi Shevet Menashe Get There?"

The tribes of Gad and Reuven approach Moshe about staying in East Jordan...
- Bamidbar: 32

Question: how did the "half-tribe of Menashe" get in the picture? Why Menashe and not another tribe?

I have a surprise answer....

...OK...

clear your minds.

I taught a parsha class for many years at Congregation Mt Sinai in Washington Heights. I found that many of the tribal dynamics had to do with the Matriarchs, Jacob's four wives. I don't have the time or space to explain it all now, but use that as a prism for viewing these inter-tribal dynamics. Now apply that here.
  • Reuven, one of Leah's sons.
  • Gad, one of the two maidservants' sons. (Zilpah)
Which matriarch is missing?
Rachel

Now take a loot at the proportions:
Leah gave birth to six sons. However, Levi didn't receive any land,  leaving five to inherit the land of Israel. So Reuven is about 20% of of the inheriting sons of Leah. Gad is about 25% of the maidservants' children.

What's needed?  20-25% of Rachel's children. Half the tribe of Menasseh is about 12.5 to 20% depending on how you compute the population. Shevet Menasseh is much larger than either Shevet Ephraim or Shevet Benjamin.

So Moses' agenda was to assert a matriarchal balance over East-Jordan. Half (or part of) Menasseh did the trick

Proof?

None

Hint?

Look at the configuration of the tribes in pasrshiot Bamidbar and Beha'alotecha. The tribes march along according to matriarch - except one. Gad, who is promoted to replace Levi along with Reuven and Shim'on.

This model "suggests" the Torah had a matriarchal proportion re: tribe vs tribe. Since half-Menasseh seems to jump out of nowhere, I simply plugged them in. Voila! It conformed to a an existing model.

Shalom,

RRW



P. Matot: Umikneh Rav liv'nai R'uvein, Gad - So How did M'nasheh get Included?

R'uvein and Gad approached Moshe Rabbeinu requesting TransJordan. When Moshe acquiesced, he added Hatzi Shevet M'nasheh. Why?

Below is a an answer based upon the structure of the Tribes throughout Sefer Bamidbar - here is that dynamic at work

When Levi drops out of the "tribes" a shuffle occurs in Parshas Bamidbar, Nasso, B'haalot'cha. *

1. Gad is promoted to Honorary Ben Leah, camping with R'uvein and Shim'on

2. Yosef is divided into Two, Ephraim and M'nasheh to restore the number to 12

The 4 camps now are structured as follows

East - 3 from Leah
South - 2 from Leah plus Gad
West - 3 from Rachel
North - 3 from the "sh'fachot" - 1 from Zilpah, 2 from Bilhah

Levi was now in a circle inside
-------------------

When R'uvein and Gad chose TransJordan, then we have

20% of Leah
25% of the Sh'fachot
0% of Rachel

To Remedy this Moshe takes 1/2 of M'nasheh which comprises about 25% of Rachel - thereby restoring a balance of Imahot. [Counting Bilhah/Zilpah as a unit]

Why M'nasheh and not Ephraim? I'm not sure - but perhaps it is since he is the b'chor and so are R'uvein and Gad.

-------------------

* Note whenever Levi IS counted in the 12, Joseph is reunited.

Shalom,
RRW

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Parsha: Pinchas, "Leadership"

A local leader of a certain sect recently told me that while their World Leader may no longer walk the earth, he is still there for consultation. After all, no shepherd would leave his flock (צֹאן מַרְעִיתוֹ.) unattended.

I then began to wonder - why couldn't Moshe Rabbenu A"H lead his flock after passing away?  It seems he was very concerned about having a successor appointed before his passing.* What compelled Moshe  to find a LIVING successor instead of relying upon consultations from beyond?

It is also interesting that Shaul required a witch from Ein Dor to help him commune with the departed Sh'muel Hannavi. Why didn't Shmuel just advise Shaul from the afterlife, too?

Shalom,
RW

-----------------------------------------

* במדבר פרק כז


 טז יִפְקֹד ה”, אֱלֹהֵי הָרוּחֹת לְכָל-בָּשָׂר, אִישׁ, עַל-הָעֵדָה.  יז אֲשֶׁר-יֵצֵא לִפְנֵיהֶם, וַאֲשֶׁר יָבֹא לִפְנֵיהֶם, וַאֲשֶׁר יוֹצִיאֵם, וַאֲשֶׁר יְבִיאֵם; וְלֹא תִהְיֶה, עֲדַת ה”, כַּצֹּאן, אֲשֶׁר אֵין-לָהֶם רֹעֶה. 




H. Of Pinchas, is it the rarest?

For the statistical reality see:

Calendar - What is the rarest Haftarah? - Jewish Life and Learning - Stack Exchange
http://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/3898/what-is-the-rarest-haftarah

Shalom,
RRW