Rosner’s Torah Talk: Matot-Masei with Rabbi Ariana Silverman
Ariana Silverman is the Rabbi of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, the last freestanding synagogue in the City of Detroit. Raised in Chicago, she received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, her ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program. She lives in Detroit with her family.
This Week’s Torah portion – Parashat Matot-Masei
(Numbers 30:2-36:13) – begins with Moses presenting the heads of the tribes with rules concerning the annulment of vows. War is waged against Midian and the Torah lists the different spoils Israel took hold of in their victory and describes how they are distributed. The tribes of Gad, Reuben and half of Menashe ask Moses for the territory East of the Jordan as their portion of the promised land, and Moses eventually agrees on the condition that they first help conquering the west part West of the Jordan. The boundaries of the Promised Land are stated, and cities of refuge are designated as havens for people who commit inadvertent murder. The portion ends with the story of the daughters of Tzelafchad marrying men of their own tribe (Menashe) in order to keep the estate which they inherited from their father within their own tribe. Our conversation focuses on the two and a half tribes’ request for land and on what this episode could teach us about conflict resolution.
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