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Friday, July 17

The Weekly Shtikle - Matos / Mas'ei

When Moshe Rabbeinu finally settles with the tribes of Gad and Reuvein and allows them to settle in the land to the east of the Yardein, he sets out strict conditions upon which their settling of the land is contingent. In response to their offer to cross the river and fight with the rest of B'nei Yisrael, Moshe begins (32:20) "If you will do this thing, if you will arm yourselves for war before HaShem..." Certainly one of the two parts of that sentence seems superfluous. Moshe could have simply either made reference to their offer, or spoken it out directly. He didn't have to do both.


Or HaChayim addresses this issue and offers an explanation. Moshe sensed that although Gad and Reuvein pledged their military support, there was something lacking in their intent. They were going to fight solely for the purpose of fulfilling their side of the agreement so that they may settle in their desired land. They would be lacking the proper intentions that are necessary when engaging in HaShem's war, as described by Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 7:15). Therefore, Moshe made two separate statements. If they do as they have promised, that is all well and good. However, he added that in doing so, they needed to arm themselves "before HaShem," with specific intent for the destruction of the enemies of HaShem and to cleanse their minds of their ulterior motives in battle.

Have a good Shabbos and Chodesh Tov.

Eliezer Bulka
WeeklyShtikle@weeklyshtikle.com

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