This Week’s Torah Portion

Mattot-Massei Tribes-Journeys — מטות-מסעי

Mattot-Massei Tribes-Journeys — מטות-מסעי Masei, Mas’ei, or Masse (מַסְעֵי‎ — Hebrew for “journeys,” the second word, and the first distinctive word, in the parashah) is the 43rd weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה‎, parashah) in the annualcycle of Torah reading and the 10th and last in the Book of Numbers. The parashah comprises Numbers 33:1–36:13. The parashah discusses the stations of the Israelites’ journeys, instructions for taking the land of Israel, cities for the Levites and refuge, and the daughters of Zelophehad.

Passage: Numbers 30:2–36:13

Reflection: The name of this Torah portion Massei is very close to the spelling of The Maasai Tribe of Kenya and Tanzania which I find interesting. There is an oral history that a Maasai young woman told me from her Elder uncle that yes The Maasai are Israelites but that after the Golden Calf incident they left the group and did not continue the journey to the promised land because they wanted to continue to worship the calf. This is why cows are extremely important to the Maasai to this day and why they have some Israelite practices and some non Israelite practices. In this week’s Torah portion we also read about 5 sisters The daughters of Zelophehad who united to advocate for themselves and their father’s land leading to a change to land inheritance laws for the children of Israel. Their story shows us the power of unity and advocacy.

Resource: Maasai 10th Lost Tribe of Israel Documentary,1m06s

Let’s read this week’s Torah Portion!