Drash Cards for Mattot/Masei (5761)
by Marc Mangel
• This parsha includes the laws of making and breaking vows, dealing with the Midianites, the situation of Reuven and Gad, and a review of the travels.
• Reuven and Gad want to stay east of the Jordan. Moses is furious and gives one of the first examples of Jewish guilt (v 6)
• There is a change of order of mention of children and flocks between v 16 (when Reuven and Gad are speaking) and v 26 (when Moses is): first time it is flocks/children; second time it is children/flocks.
• The sages offer a number of reasons for why Moses got so angry; he was upset with i) their materialism (flocks then children), ii) their lack of communal responsibility, iii) their secular attitude towards Eretz Yisrael, and iv) their separation from the people
• We should compare Reuven and Gad to the daughters of Tzelophochad, who want to share in the holy land (Ch 27).
• The Midrash says that these are wise and righteous women, and include them in a list of 23 great Jewish women in the Torah. The women of that generation fixed the breeches that the men had made (think of the Golden calf and the incident of the spies).
• The daughters of Tzelophachad are an antidote to the mentality of the sons of Reuven and Gad.