Parshas Matos-Masei

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Parshas Matos-Masei

The Torah tells of the abundance of flock belonging to the tribes of Reuven and Gad. Both Reuven and Gad felt their flocks needed more land than the average tribe amongst the Jewish nation. Once they saw the vast, plush land on the other side of the Jordan river, they decided that their portion amongst their brothers was to be there (rather than in the land of Israel). The two tribes said to Moshe and Elazar if we have found favor in your eyes, please let the land on the other side of the Jordan be our inheritance, rather than in the land of Israel. Moshe in-turn told them, if you’re willing to help the Jewish nation fight the foreign nations living in Israel at the time and conquer the land, then the land across the Jordan is your’s. The tribes of Reuven and Gad agreed. However, in their agreement they made a statement to the disliking of Moshe. The two tribes said they will build fences to hold their sheep and cattle, and afterwards build cities for their children. Rashi says that from here we see where the two tribes priorities were. They seemed to care more about their material possessions than their own children! Therefore, when Moshe spoke to them after their agreement, he switched the order. He told them to first build cities for their families, and only afterwards to build fences for their flock.
The tribes of Reuven and Gad put the primary as secondary, and the secondary as primary. Sadly, this wasn’t only a mistake of the past and a nice story to tell to the children, but a prevalent problem nowadays as well. The Torah is telling us how easily one can forget the point of his possessions, and lose sight of what’s most important. If it was hard during the greatest generation the Jewish nation ever had, all the more so in our day and age. The goal is to keep our minds focused and remember the point of it all. Possessions are there to help us and our family. Family is not there to help us amass possessions. It’s a mind set that even the greatest of men had trouble with, but still doable.

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