Times: Shabbat starts tonight with candle lighting at 5:00pm, and ends Saturday night at 6:01pm. The weekly Torah portion is Matot-Massei.
Mincha in the CBD: Friday mincha is currently on recess and will resume next week on 20 July. Mincha (Mon-Thu) continues next week at 1.00pm with the SMS reminder.
Study: The Wednesday shiur & lunch continues this week at Billing Bureau, following 1.00pm mincha.
Thought of the Week with thanks to Ezra May. In this week’s Torah reading, the tribes of Gad and Reuven approach Moshe to remain in the conquered lands of Sichon & Og, east of the Jordon River.
Moshe responds harshly, questioning why the other tribes should go to battle to conquer the rest of the land of Israel while they remain behind living comfortably. He also argued that their actions could dissuade the rest from wanting to conquer the land, in a manner similar to the negative report brought back by the spies.
The tribes of Gad and Reuven clarified that after they built cities for their families and animals, they would join the rest in the battle for the land of Israel proper. And only after it was fully conquered and settled would they return to their families.
The commentators explain that the two tribes always intended to assist in the conquest of Israel, but because they didn’t see this as significant, they didn’t say it explicitly until pressed by Moshe.
The commentator Shemen HaTov explains that Moshe recognized their original good intentions, but was concerned that after they actually built the cities for their families and animals, they would be tempted to reconsider their plans. After 40 years of wandering through the desert, it would be natural for them to re-evaluate their commitment to spend an additional 14 years helping their brethren conquer and settle the land of Israel.
To prevent this from occurring and to keep their actions consistent with their intentions, Moshe insisted on making an explicit and binding agreement with them. Only if they fulfilled their end of the deal by assisting with the conquest of Israel would they be permitted to keep their land on the east side of the Jordan River.