Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Matot-Masei

Cities_of_refugeSorry for the delay; we had family visiting over the long weekend. B”H, it was a lovely visit!

This week in the diaspora we’re finally catching up with those in Israel and studying Matot-Masei, which discusses women and vows, the vengeance on Midian, Reuben and Gad’s inheritance of land on the east side of the Jordan, details the encampments of the Israelites in the wilderness over the span of forty years, as well as the boundaries of the Land, cities for Levites, and cities of refuge.

You may decide to read this double portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 30:2-31:12 (28 p’sukim)

2: 31:13-54 (42 p’sukim)

3: 32:1-19 (19 p’sukim)

4: 32:20-33:49 (72 p’sukim)

5: 33:50-34:15 (22 p’sukim)

6: 34:16-35:8 (22 p’sukim)

7: 35:9-36:13 (39 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Jeremiah 2:4 – 28; 3:4.

The accompanying psalms to be read on Shabbat for this week’s double portion is 111 and 49.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Bamidbar by Dr. Hollisa Alewine


The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week as we head into a new month (the month of Menachem Av), we will focus on the middot (character trait) merirut and atzvut translated as sadness.

Yanki Tauber describes the difference between these two different kinds of sadness this way:

Merirut is the distress of one who not only recognizes his failings but also cares about them; one who agonizes over the wrongs he has committed, over his missed opportunities, over his unrealized potential; one who refuses to become indifferent to what is deficient in himself and his world. Atzvut is the distress of one who has despaired of himself and his fellow man, whose melancholy has drained him of hope and initiative. Merirut is a springboard for self-improvement; atzvut is a bottomless pit. ~Yanki Tauber

Note: Fill out a 4×6 card; at the top write Merirut and Atzvut (Sadness). Under this attribute, write out the suggested practices. Put this card in a prominent place to help you walk out this virtue in your day to day life.

  • Instead of focusing on problems, focus on finding solutions.
  • Express your intention for a desired income in a given situation from “I expect” to “I prefer.”
  • Practice compassion.
  • Give up your will for Hashem’s will.


You may also enjoy the video(s) below:


“The first is active, the second—passive. The first one weeps, the second’s eyes are dry and blank. The first one’s mind and heart are in turmoil; the second’s are still with apathy and heavy as lead. And what happens when it passes, when they emerge from their respective bouts of grief? The first one springs to action: resolving, planning, taking his first faltering steps to undo the causes of his sorrow. The second one goes to sleep.” ~R’ Aryeh Kaplan

Video: Can Sadness Ever Be Positive?

Blessings and Shalom for a good week,