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Shabbat Reading and Commentary for week 32, 2008, (August 2nd) Shabbat Massai – Wanderings:

Numbers 33:1-36:13, Numbers 28:9-15; Jeremiah 2:4-28 + 3:4
By Michael Schneider, israel today, Jerusalem

Commentary:
Our weekly reading on this Shabbat concludes the fourth book of the Torah, Numbers. Chapter 33 of Numbers recaps Israel’s 40-year journey through the desert, and ends with a divine mission: “You shall cross the Jordan River to the Land of Canaan,” and remove all the inhabitants and the relics of their foreign cults – “because I will give this land to you.” Israel was warned that any remnant of the godless Canaanites and their religions would be like “barbs in your eyes” and “thorns in your sides.” Israel was furthermore warned against any covenant with the Land’s former inhabitants. The reasons for this admonition continue to be clear even today.



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