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The Weekly Aliyot of the Parsha - Masei
At the beginning of parsha Masai the Torah recounts the journeying of the Jews in the desert. Rashi says that of the 42 journeys listed here, only 20 were after the decree to wander in the desert until Aharon passed away, and that prevents anyone from saying that the Jews were made to wander continuously, without rest.

G-d tells the Jewish people that when they cross the Jordan, they should drive out the inhabitants of the land and destroy their idols and occupy the land of Israel. And in this aliyah is the pussok: "If you do not drive out the land's inhabitants before you, those who remain shall be barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, causing you troubles in the land." This aliyah also contains a description of the boundaries of the land.

G-d appoints men to be in charge of the dividing up of the land for the inheritance of the Jews.

The Jews are commanded to take from the land that they are given as an inheritance and give cities to the Levites to live in.

G-d commands the Jews to designate six cities to be cities of refuge. The purpose of these six cities of refuge is that when someone kills someone else inadvertently, they can run to one of these cities and be safe from vengeance until they can stand trial. The Torah then goes on to give laws of purposeful murder, for which the penalty is death. If someone is determined by trial to be an inadvertent killer, he is returned to the city of refuge and remains there until such a time as the High Priest passes away.

G-d gives the commandment that when daughters inherit their father's land, as in the case of Tzelafchad's daughters, they must marry only someone from their own tribe, so the land they inherit will remain in their father's tribe. As a result of this commandment, Tzelafchad's daughters marry their cousins within their tribe.

This aliyah completes the book of Bamidbar. In a synagogue, the congregation stands during the reading of the last part of the aliyah, and when the Torah reader reaches the end of the aliyah the congregation recites: "Chazak Chazak V'Nischazek" -- as we do at the end of each one of the five Books of the Torah. Next week we begin reading the book of Devarim.



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