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An idea on Matot-Mas'ei

Discussion in 'Judaism DIR' started by Harel13, Jul 9, 2021.

  1. Harel13

    Harel13 Am Yisrael Chai
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    In this week's double parsha portion, we learn that half of the Tribe of Menashe go out and capture territories in the Bashan area. Two particular episodes in this conquest are recounted: Yair ben Menashe capturing "chavoteihem", which, according to archeologist Dr. Yitzchak Meitlis in his book Parashat Derachim, may be a reference to the villages around the city of Ham (הם) (see Genesis 14:5), and Novach capturing Kenat. Interestingly, according to Dr. Meitlis, Assyrian texts from the 14th century reveal that a man named יאר (YAR) lived there and was an enemy of Assyria at the time. This is quite likely a reference to Yair or his descendants.

    A few weeks ago, I saw that both Rabbi Yehudah Ha'Chassid and the author of the commentary purported to have been written by a student of Rav Saadyah Gaon believed that these two episodes did not take place during the conquest of Bashan, but rather took place when Yisrael dwelled in Egypt, but before the start of the slavery. Apparently, people from the nation received permission from the pharaoh to go to Canaan and surrounding areas to create settlements. It would have been during this time that the descendants of Efraim were killed by the people of Gat (Chronicles 1:7:21).

    This view is particularly interesting for a couple of reasons:

    1. It explains why Moshe was not angry at Menashe for also wanting to settle outside of Eretz Yisrael - because they were not settling - they were re-settling! They were simply taking back the lands of their fathers.

    2. It may serve to explain the difference between Yair ben Menashe and the blasphemer. The blasphemer is mentioned in Leviticus 24:10-23 as someone who was the son of a woman from the Tribe of Dan and an Egyptian man. According to commentators, he wished to live among the people of Dan, but they didn't let him. This seems strange in light of the fact that Yair ben Menashe was not a male-line descendant of Menashe. His mother was the daughter of Machir, but his father, Seguv, was of the Tribe of Yehudah (see Chronicles 1:2:21-23)! Why would Yair be allowed to live with his mother's tribe but not the blasphemer?
    According to R' Yehudah Ha'Chassid and the student of Rasag, we may explain that Yair lived generations before the time of the blasphemer, at a time in which tribal lines weren't quite so distinct. Thus, he was accepted into his mother's tribe (some commentators explain that his father died when he was young, so his mother took him to live with her in her father's home). The blasphemer, on the other hand, lived generations later, at a time in which the tribes were already organized and tribal affiliation was already clearly paternal.

    Welcome to add your own thoughts on this subject or the parsha in general.

    Shabbat Shalom
     
    #1 Harel13, Jul 9, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2021
  2. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    [QUOTE="Harel13, post: 7229440, member: 67780"Interestingly, according to Dr. Meitlis, Egyptian texts from the 14th century reveal that a man named יאר (YAR) lived there and was an enemy of the pharaoh at the time. [/QUOTE]
    Could you provide a reference to the Egyptian texts?
     
  3. Harel13

    Harel13 Am Yisrael Chai
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    Could you provide a reference to the Egyptian texts?[/QUOTE]
    I don't think he brings an exact reference, although he did put more details than I brought, so I don't think it'd be too complicated to track it down. I'll try to do it after Shabbat.
     
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  4. Harel13

    Harel13 Am Yisrael Chai
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  5. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Interesting. Thanks.

    You might be interested in a 1982 article by an M. Heltzer with the title The Yaureans and the Yairites.

     
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  6. Harel13

    Harel13 Am Yisrael Chai
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    Thanks. On that note, there's an essay (in Hebrew) by Binyamin Mazar (Maisler) in which he states that the Sutu are the Bnei Shet (Numbers 24:17). I don't know who the Achlamu are, but perhaps their name came from the precious stone achlama.
     
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