This weekly Torah portion gives us a second chance to conduct something we have done before unsuccessfully, but this time with new powers and inner strength or passion
In MATOT Torah portion Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the children of Israel. Mate in Hebrew is a stick or a rod. The Matot here refers to the tribes of Israel, and it is significant because each tribe of the Israeli nation has its own role, power and purpose created by the divine. whether in the biblical story or in our own inner state of spiritual awareness.
Matot Torah portion is always read during the “Three Weeks” from 17 of Tammuz to 9 of Av, during which we mourn and re-experience the destruction of the Holy Temple and the exile from the city of Jerusalem. So why Matot then? And what is the connection to this period of time?
We first come across the Mate – the rod / stick as singular object when Moshe receives from G-d the role of leadership. Moshe's rod entered the biblical story when G-d was revealed to him from the burning bush. G-d asks Moshe: "What is your hand?" And Moses answers: "Mate" (Exodus). From this point on, the rod Moshe possesses becomes an nun-separable part from him and his mission to safely deliver the children of Israel to the promise land. With this rod Moshe does many miracles, signs and wonders. This Mate revel its powers in the burning bush and then when Moshe return to Egypt and claim the liberation of the Israeli nation from Egypt. Then afterwards it continue to revel its miraculous powers in several occasions.
This rod is ancient and special, it was costume made by the divine to assist Moshe in his role. It has been said that it is one of the things G-d created on the sixth day of creation before sunset, and therefor hold a mysteries and miraculous wonders powers that are beyond nature realms or the human understanding The Hebrew tradition argue that this rod came every time as prove of the true leader. It was not only a symbolic gustier in the hands of the leader (like a crown on the head of a king), but in a way gave the leader extra powers which would help him and strengthen his leadership. It was a divine sign that preformed its abilities only in the hands of the leader who does what G-d requests.
And now, right before the entrance to Israel and the replacement of leadership, from Moshe to Yehuoshua. Right before Moshe leave the children of Israel the stick appears again but this time not as a singular object but as a symbol for the miraculous power and divine authority every tribe possesses.
The Zohar teaches us that Moshe was referred as the power of the Sun while Yehushua was referred as the power of the moon. And this is important because we know that the moon is symbolizes the transformation in life, through all 12 zodiac signs which represents the months in a year. A circular time. And those months represented by the transformation of the moon, here get another layer of acknowledgment in the Matot, the stick each tribe possesses.
So from a leadership of one person - a divine figure - Moshe, that is represented by the sun, we now enter a different era on which the leadership goes to another person, represented by the continuance changing of the moon. Yehoshua. Allowing us to start live with the notion or acknowledgment that things are about to change and that this change will accrue in accordance with the divine low. Therefore this is no mistake that it is the portion we read during an extremely difficult or challenging time in the year. It like the divine asks us to remember the circularity of life. The natural time notion of changing, and our ability to change with it. danger to himself. What concerned him was the spiritual danger facing the Jewish people, and he was willing to risk his life to eliminate the threat.
“Every rod yearns to return to its tree, yearns for the day that it will once again be a fresh and vital branch, united with its siblings and nourished by its ancestors.”
This is in the base of our portion, but in an even more profound way it Is in the basis of our Jewish spiritual belief. In this portion, we have the lows of vows, as if to remind us of the vow we took when we said Naase Venishma on Sinai, but also to establish a fundamental rule in which we are to be very extremely calculated and careful when it comes to speak our minds, regarding almost everything.
After the vows we are facing a great war that took place between Israel and Mydyan, a war that the children of Israel did exactly as the divine command, out of G-d necessity and will to avenge the people who succeeded in causing Israel not to fulfill their vow and oath they made at Mount Sinai. This war takes place just like a well-curated drama with big victory at the end. It is also the last thing G-d request from Moshe before he leave the children of Israel to handle things on their own. This war is described in detail and length, even at the stage when it is over and Israel dedicate the treasures from the war to G-d.
In this war we see Israel, a nation which is worthy by all means, that is executing the divine will and command in all its glory. Succeeding not only in defeating Midyan but also in doing exactly as God commanded them to do, including their holding back from temptation, as they do not take spoils but devote them to G-d. This supreme divine gesture was the last act of Moshe as a leader.
To find out more about this portion spiritual growth and the needed process enter this weeks lesson.