Mattos Masei Batmitzvah
Mattot and Masei, today’s Sedrahs are usually read together . Mattot deals largely with the defeat of the Midianites ,whereas Masei records in detail the stages of the journey of the Jewish people between the exodus, when they left Egypt, and their arrival at the border of the land of Canaan.
Mattot-Masei are always read during the three weeks preceding Tisha B’av when we mourn the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and events that happened thousands of years ago. Are there not far more recent disasters to mourn? The truth is that the moment a nation forgets its past, it starts to disappear.
There is a story about Napolean who passed through a village that looked as if it was deserted. He was told that the inhabitants had not fled, they were all in the Synagogue to Commemorate a day of mourning, Tisha B’av. “Has anything happened?” “Napoleon asked. Apparently their Temple has been destroyed and their people have been sent into exile. But the strange thing is that it all happened a very long time ago. Some Two thousand years and they are still mourning. Napolean answered, “If those people have such a long memory, I do not doubt that they will one day return to their land”.
Av is the fifth month of the year and is the only month whose name is not found in the Bible. It is also known as Menachem Av,”The consoler of Av.”
Throughout History, the months of Av have proved to be associated with mourning and destruction of the Jewish people.
Therefore, it is interesting that it also hosts at least one day of joy Tu B’Av 15 Av.
According to the Mishna, this was one of the days of the year, the other one being Yom Kippur on which young girls would dress in borrowed white dresses and go out to the vineyards in the hope of finding a spouse.
In the second Sedrah of Masei the Torah describes the entire route travelled by the Jews during their 40 years in the desert. Why was it so important that these details be recorded? Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, 19 century chief Rabbi of Moravia and communities in Germany, noted that these details would enable future generations to look back at their heritage. This would help to establish another link with the past. There is another factor .G-d wanted to show how dedicated this generation was.
The mitzvah of Tevilat kelim, the immersion of certain utensils in a Mikva (not to be confused with the koshering of utensils) appears in today’s Torah reading. We are required to immerse utensils used for eating or for preparing food, which have been manufactured or owned by a non-Jew. Metal, glass and chinaware are immersed some with a blessing and some without a blessing. Wooden and unglazed earth ware utensils do not require immersion at all. Most authorities hold that plastic vessels need not to be immersed.
When performing the immersion, it is important that all parts of the utensil will come into contact with the Mikva water. We therefore have to clean it thoroughly and remove all markings and labels before the immersion.
The Sedrah discusses the cities of refuge.
The sentence handed to a man slaughterer is that he be confined to one of the 48 cities of refuge scattered throughout the land of Israel is baffling. Perhaps the most intriguing question is, “Why the lengths of sentence are linked to the death of the high priest in office at the time”. The question is asked is which event is the cause of the other. Is it the death of The High Priest that enables the man slaughterer to go free or is it the need of the man slaughterer to obtain his freedom that requires the death of The High Priest?
One commentator says that it is in fact the latter case. He points to the law that states that it is essential for The High Priest to die before the man slaughterer sentence was passed, but his successor was appointed only afterwards, and then he has to wait for the death of the new High priest even though it may be a long time before it occurred.
G-d plans the destiny of each of every one of us and therefore in a very real sense it was the man slaughterer who appointed the High Priest. It was the length of his sentence that determined which High Priest would be appointed according to The Priests lifespan.
My Hebrew name is Aliza which means joy. A great day of joy in the months of Av is Tu B’Av, the festival of love. If you were listening to my Dvar Torah so far you would have heard me speak about it earlier.
My maternal grandpa Norman was an active member at Cricklewood Synagogue for many years. A role he took most seriously as a warden and the Financial Representative. He learnt early on how hard life was when he was set down the coal mines. He worked hard and proved himself to train as an accountant, then a chartered accountant, to partner.
Grandma Pamela also gave up her time to volunteer at the Middlesex Hospital in Central London. For many years, she dedicated her time to help patients feel comfortable and provided a friendly ear to listen to.
I never knew my grandparents on my dad’s side – Betty and Harvey.
My dad often tells me how they would have been so proud of me and my brothers, Philip and Jeremy. They were very caring to their family and friends and would always make time to help others. They were a devoted couple and unfortunately are not with us anymore.
My dad’s father Harvey was in the Merchant Navy during the 2nd world war, and ensured that food and supplies were available at home. I am sure he would have had some interesting stories to tell about the near misses he must have had from German U boats. Like everyone at the time, he was doing his duty to ensure our survival.
I would also have liked to have known my dad’s late Brother Craig (Rafael), to listen to all his experiences of life.
Unfortunately, none of my grandparents are alive to share this special day with me and my family, but I know they would have been proud of me, and are with me always in spirit.
I attended Yavneh Nursery and Cheder at Woodside Park Synagogue.
I currently attend Simcha Squad. It is a monthly discussion group which is aimed for girls under Bat mitzvah age.
At school, I enjoy athletics and drama. Outside school, I play the piano, violin and the guitar. On the piano and violin, I have achieved Grade 3 and beyond.
I would like to thank Mrs. Cohen for all her support and kind words towards me, enabling me to work towards this special day.
Miss Sassi who has encouraged me in my Cheder Lessons and always so friendly and helpful to others.
I would like to thank my dear parents for all the opportunities they have given me and all the caring and hard work they have put into raising me to be a proud Jewish Bat mitzvah girl.