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Rabbi Marcus – Mattot
This Sidra deals with three subjects. The first discusses the making of vows. We learn of the gravity and sanctity of the spoken word. We are urged to treat the spoken word as sacred and binding.
The second subject is the war against Midian. This was one of Moshe’s last major tasks. The Midianites had tried to corrupt our people by tempting them to worship their pagan idols. An army of 12,000 men, (1,000 from every tribe) led by Pinchas, defeated the Midianite enemy.
Lastly the Sidra deals with the request of the 2 ½ tribes – Reuben, Gad and half of Menashe who were primarily farmers, to settle on the eastern side of the river Jordan where land was more suitable for farming. Moshe insisted that they first participate in helping conquer the land of Israel and then settle on the other side of the Jordan.