Gates Parshas Matos - Masei
July 17, 2009
Welcome to Beyond Twelve
Gates. Ohio State University published a
list a few years ago stating the top 50 reasons why people are fired from their
jobs. The first 15 reasons did not involve skill, or knowledge, or ability.
These top reasons all listed some sort of personal attitude as the reason for
the job loss. In our personal and spiritual lives, an attitude of enthusiasm (Simchas Ha'Chaim --
the joy of living) can help us to achieve great things.
Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, 'If you
aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.'
If we can give ourselves one gift today, let it be the gift of enthusiasm.
This Week's Torah
-- Masei (Numbers 30:2
In the first of this week's two
action-packed portions, Moses teaches the rules and restrictions governing
oaths and vows. Promises are serious business. When we say
that we plan to do something -- even something
as simple as, 'I'll call you later' -- we're bound by our
words. The tribes of Gad and Reuben petition Moses to remain on the
eastern side of the Jordan river because
that land is particularly suitable as grazing land for their cattle.
Moses, not wanting to 'steer' Gad and Reuben wrong, grants their request on the
condition that they first help the remainder of the Jewish people to conquer
what would later become known as 'the Land of Israel.'
Masei (a word that means 'journeys') begins
with a listing of the 42 encampments of the Jewish people's 40 year journey
from Egypt into the Land of Israel (No, 'Camp Grenada' is not on the
list). The boundaries of the Land
of Israel are defined , and the command is given to establish cities of
refuge for unintentional murderers (see 'Rabbinic Ruminations' below).
The Book of Numbers
concludes with Masei. Next
week -- on to Deuteronomy!
O Honaunau' is a National Park in Hawaii,
formerly known as the 'City of Refuge Park.' Why? In ancient times
Hawaiians would chase down a certain type of offender and put him to
death -- unless he reached a puuhonua, or
place of refuge. Sound familiar? It gets better. Once in the
place of refuge, the offender could be absolved of his sin by a Hawaiian priest
-- known as a 'Kahuna.' The
word 'Kahuna' is strikingly similar to the Hebrew
word 'Kohen/Cohen' that refers to a Jewish male of
the priestly class.
I don't mean to suggest that
Hawaiians are a Lost Tribe of Israel. It's a long way from Jerusalem to Honolulu! However,
various Jewish practices can be found in unusual places. Additionally,
remnants of the Hebrew language can be found in almost every language
today. Hebrew is truly Loshon
HaKodesh, the Holy Language.
Quote of the Week
A well paid slave is a slave,
nevertheless -- Curt Flood
Joke of the Week
What happens when a fly
falls into a coffee cup?
The Frenchman -
takes out the fly, and drinks the coffee.
The Chinese - eats the fly and throws
away the coffee.
The Israeli - sells the coffee to the
Frenchman, the fly to the Chinese,
buys himself a new cup
of coffee and uses the extra money to
device that prevents flies from falling into coffee.
Thanks for reading 'Beyond
Twelve Gates'. Comments, questions, requests to be added to our email
list or better jokes can be sent to Pepshort613@sbcglobal.net or firstname.lastname@example.org Care
to know more about Nusach Hari
Bnai Zion Congregation? Check us out at www.nhbz.org
If you enjoyed Beyond Twelve Gates, please share with
a friend. Thanks to Alan Haber for his assistance in distributing BTG