Rabbi Marcus – Masei
The first part of this Sidra could be seen as a ‘travelogue’ of our ancestors wanderings during their 40 year journey from Egypt to Israel. We learn that their journey was accomplished in 42 stages or encampments. 14 of these were completed in the first year and 8 in the last. In the intervening years they travelled 20 stages in 38 years. We see, contrary to popular belief that they were not always ‘ on the move’. We learn in this Sidra of the boundaries of Israel and the division of land among the tribes supervised by Eleazar and Joshua. The tribe of Levi who were to serve as teachers and guides were not allocated land but instead 48 Levitical cities. The Sidra also lists the 6 cities of refuge. In the event that someone killed accidentally, he or she could seek refuge in one of these cities until the case was tried in court. This was a precautionary measure to save the person from family members of the deceased seeking revenge.
The Sidra and the Book of Bamidbar (Numbers) ends with laws concerning the inheritance of property by women.