Torah E-Thought: Alef for Argument
This Week at Chabad Lubavitch Leeds

Light Candles in Leeds :

Friday, 14th July  7:55 pm
Shabbat Ends,
10:36 pm
Torah Portion: 

Chabad Lubavitch Leeds   Email: [email protected]   Phone:

Message from the Rabbi
Dear Friend,

Do you know anyone visiting Wimbledon? Chabad Wimbledon are running their annual Hot Kosher Food stand with burgers, hot dogs and of course strawberries and (pareve) cream. Details here.

There is still time to book for Camp Gan Israel Summer Camp and we’re counting down the days with throwback pictures on Facebook and Instagram from over 40 years of camp. Follow Chabad Lubavitch Leeds on social media and see who you can recognise! Our highlights schedule is online, and bookings are open here .

Wishing you a Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Eli Pink
Director of Education
Chabad Lubavitch Leeds


Politics in Israel are never dull, but the last few months the protests and have ongoing and getting more unpleasant. While there have been some glimmers of light – the chat going around of someone asking to borrow an Israeli flag for a protest, being lent one by someone who told them they need it back the next day for the counter protest comes to mind – generally it seems that Israeli society is becoming more fragmented.

There have even been challenges by secular activities to the ubiquitous Tefillin stands run by Chabad Lubavitch in Israel (and across the world). Thankfully the result has been
more publicity and an upsurge in public support.

Although this column is not the forum to discuss these issues at length, there is a lesson to be learnt from this week's parshah. G-d instructs Moses to go to war against the Midyanites who had caused many Jews to die after leading them astray into immorality and idolatry. Moses is told to chose "elef l'mateh" - one thousand soldiers per tribe - to go out to war.

Chassidic thought explains that the word "Midyan" means "discord" or "strife" - the ultimate enemy of any society. Because of this, the war against Midyan involved "elef" from each tribe. The word "elef" comes from "alef" - the first letter of the Alef Bet that is counted as one. In order to conquer Midyan, the Jews needed to be united as one.

Traditionally the tribe of Levi did not accompany the other tribes into battle when the nation went to war, their job was Torah study and service in the Temple. (As an aside, this is another hot debate in Israel about yeshiva students serving in the Army. One of the strong arguments of the yeshivot students is that there has always been a tradition of torah students supporting the army spiritually through their study. It happened in the armies of Moses and Joshua and in the armies of King David and King Solomon, and is explicitly referenced in the Torah, sung about by King David in Psalms and discussed in the Talmud.)

Contrary to this tradition, the Levities did join the war against the Midyanites. The word "Levi" means "to join" or "to unite". The war that the Jews fought was also a spiritual battle to overcome their own egos, their "midyan", so that they could "levi" - "unite" - with their fellows.

We are currently in the
Three Weeks leading up to the destruction of both the First and Second Holy Temples on Tisha B'Av. The Second Temple was destroyed because of unwarranted hatred - a lack of Jewish unity. Unfortunately Israelis are regular reminded that we have no shortage of enemies without. We must make sure that we join in unity within, to help and inspire our fellow Jews. Then we will merit to bring the ultimate and complete redemption and true peace with Moshiach now!

CGI Summer Camp

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Having a great time at Hebrew's cool club!
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Parshah in a Nutshell

Parshat Matot-Massei

The name of the Parshah, “Matot,” means “Tribes,” and it is found in Numbers 30:2. The name of the Parshah, “Masei,” means “Journeys,” and it is found in Numbers 33:1.

Moses conveys the laws governing the annulment of vows to the heads of the tribes of Israel. War is waged against Midian for their role in plotting the moral destruction of Israel, and the Torah gives a detailed account of the war spoils and how they were allocated amongst the people, the warriors, the Levites and the high priest.

The tribes of Reuben and Gad (later joined by half of the tribe of Manasseh) ask for the lands east of the Jordan as their portion in the Promised Land, these being prime pastureland for their cattle. Moses is initially angered by the request, but subsequently agrees on the condition that they first join, and lead, in Israel’s conquest of the lands west of the Jordan.

The forty-two journeys and encampments of Israel are listed, from the Exodus to their encampment on the plains of Moab across the river from the land of Canaan. The boundaries of the Promised Land are given, and cities of refuge are designated as havens and places of exile for inadvertent murderers. The daughters of Tzelafchad marry within their own tribe of Manasseh, so that the estate which they inherit from their father should not pass to the province of another tribe.

Learn: Matot-Masei in Depth
Browse: Matot-Masei Parshah Columnists
Prep: Devar Torah Q&A for Matot-Masei
Read: Haftarah in a Nutshell
Play: Matot-Masei Parshah Quiz