Matot-Masei July 20, 2017

At the beginning of Torah portion Masey (Num. 33: 2ff), the second half of this week’s double portion, Matot-Masey, Moses reviews all of the stages of the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to this point, the end of the Book of Numbers, which is, in essence, the end of the wilderness journey as well.  The next book of the Torah, Deuteronomy, is a series of speeches, retelling what happened before.  A midrash explains Moses’ review through a parable of a king who takes his son to a distant land for a cure, and on the return journey points out to him all of the places they passed before and what they experienced there.  So, it is with God and the people of Israel.  Out of compassion and love for the people, God points out all of the stages, the highs and lows, that made this moment possible. (Hertz Chumash, p. 714)