This Week's Portion
Massei | מסעי | "Journeys "
- Numbers 33:1 | The Stages of Israel's Journey from Egypt
- Numbers 33:50 | Directions for the Conquest of Canaan
- Numbers 34:1 | The Boundaries of the Land
- Numbers 34:16 | Tribal Leaders
- Numbers 35:1 | Cities for the Levites
- Numbers 35:9 | Cities of Refuge
- Numbers 35:16 | Concerning Murder and Blood Revenge
- Numbers 36:1 | Marriage of Female Heirs
- Jer 2:1 | God Pleads with Israel to Repent
- Jer 3:1 | Unfaithful Israel
- Jer 3:6 | A Call to Repentance
The last reading from the book of Numbers is called Massei (מסעי), a word that means “journeys.” It comes from the first verse of the reading, which begins with the words “These are the journeys of the sons of Israel” (Numbers 33:1). Massei is the end of the continuous narrative of Torah that began in Genesis with the creation of the universe. The narrative does not resume until the end of Deuteronomy, when Moses dies.
The final reading in Numbers settles several last-minute details. In it we find a list of the encampments from Egypt to the plains of Moab. We also find instructions for apportioning the land, as well as the specifics regarding the borders of the land. While explaining the land and its borders, Moses introduces the laws of the cities of refuge and more inheritance laws. In most years, synagogues read Massei together with the preceding portion, Mattot, which accounts for the brevity of this portion’s commentary.
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