Shalom and Bracha!
Hashem change these three weeks of mourning to joyous holidays
with the coming of Moshiach!
This Shabbat we read the portions of Matot and Masei and
conclude the book of Bamidbar. The portion of Matot begins with
the war against the nation of Midian. Although Midian was not
among the lands that comprised the land of Israel, the nation of
Midian schemed to arouse Hashem’s anger against the Jewish
people and succeeded in causing a plague. Hashem commanded that
each of the tribes send an equal number of soldiers to fight
Midian. The war was a miraculous one, and none of the Jewish
soldiers were killed.
Each portion of the week bears a special connection to the time
in which it is read. Matot is always read during the three weeks
in which we mourn the destruction of the Temple and intensify
our prayers for the Redemption. All of the battles of the Jewish
people that are described in the Torah represent spiritual
battles which each of us must fight. The word Midian in Hebrew
is related to the Hebrew word Madon, which means strife. Midian
represents the negative force of strife that is fueled by
jealousy. When someone succeeds, we should be happy for them.
Ahavat Yisrael demands that we rejoice in our fellow Jew’s
success just as we rejoice in our own. Unfortunately, our
jealous nature results in just the opposite. The battle against
Midian is the battle against strife. Hashem commanded that an
equal number of soldiers be sent from each tribe. This is
because we must all unite equally to fight divisiveness and
attain unity. If one feels I am the one who brings unity, and
you do less to bring unity, it only enhances the problem. The
destruction of the Temple was because of strife. Therefore, in
the three weeks we read about the war against Midian, reminding
us to stress unity and Ahavat Yisrael.
second portion that we read is Masei. They word Masei means
journeys. Hashem recounts the journeys of the Jewish people from
Egypt until the Jordan River, ready to enter the land of Israel.
It is interesting to note that the Torah refers to the journeys,
not the encampments. The overwhelming majority of the forty
years was spent camping, not traveling. Further, almost all of
the events that are related in the portion and throughout the
Torah occurred when the Jewish people were camping, not
traveling. The journeys of the Jewish people in the desert
represent all of the steps and travails in our lives. The Torah
uses the word journeys to teach that although they were
encamped, they were accomplishing, and thus going forward. We
must never be stagnant; until we reach the perfection of the
world with Moshiach’s coming, we must constantly move forward.
of the Mitzvot in this week’s portion is the cities of refuge.
The joy of the Shabbats in the three weeks is a refuge that
gives us strength to endure the mourning and change the darkness
to light. This year is unique in that we have four Shabbats in
the three weeks, granting extra strength. The Shabbat when we
conclude a book of Chumash (like this Shabbat) is called Shabbat
Chazak, a Shabbat of strength. This is the first Shabbat of
Menachem Av. Menachem Av means the comforting of the Father. May
Hashem grant that in this month of Menachem Av our Father will
comfort us and we will all rejoice in the coming of Moshiach.
Dedicated in memory of Ezra Ben Carmella Cornman. May Hashem
grant him perfect peace and bliss in Gan Eden and grant comfort
and strength to his family and all who knew him and may he
intercede before Hashem’s throne to end all pain with the coming
has a wealth of information on the Three Weeks as well as
excellent classes about the Temple
Charity is very important in these three weeks to illicit
Hashem’s mercies. The Friendship Circle which benefits special
needs children has created a program allowing people to donate
daily in any amount (a dollar, fifty cents..) If you would like
to assist special children this way, please contact
Project of Chabad of Great Neck
East Shore Rd. Great Neck NY 11024
4874554 fax 516 4874807