Matot-Masei (5760)

Drash Cards for Matot-Masei  (5760)

by Marc Mangel

 

• A three part drash on the Cites of Refuge

• Part I: What does a scholarly approach tell us about the Cities of Refuge?

• 1. Only the guilty party is involved — there is no vegenence on the family.  2.  Guilt is determined by intention. The involuntary homicide does not imply death.

• 3. No ransom is acceptable for the one who is to die.  4.  Whether it is deliberate or involuntary homicide is determined by the state, not by the bereaved kinsman.

• 5. The trial is by a national tribunal, not the kinsman of either party. 6. The deliberate homicide is executed and the involuntary banished to a City of Refuge until the death of the High Priest

• Part II: What is the message for us normal people?

• There is a fundamental difference between people who are dangerous to society and those who really are not but whom we are mad at.

• Part III: The Message of the Torah is Eternal and Always Applicable. What do the Cities of Refuge mean for us today?

• In 1990, we spent 3% of the state budget on prisons and 17% on higher education
• In 2009, 9% on prisons and 10% on higher education

• Our prisons are filled with people we’re really mad at rather than those who are dangerous, and sometimes we put them there for life.

• A UC student costs $20K to educate, a prisoner $30K to keep.  The former President of the CSU Board said “We’re no safer but we are dumber”

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