Text: Numbers 30:2 - 32:42
Parashat (Torah Portion) Matot begins with several laws regarding nedarim/vows, particularly the nature of women’s vows and whether they may be released from them should their fathers or husbands object upon hearing of the vow. The portion then returns to the tribes’ journey in the wilderness and conquest toward Canaan. Just before entering the land of Canaan itself, the tribes of Reuben and Gad ask Moses permission to settle east of the Jordan, where their livestock would have ample grazing fields, rather than move on with everyone else in Canaan. Moses agrees on the condition they send all able men to fight and conquer the land which God promised the Israelites, and only once the entire Canaanite campaign has succeeded, then the Reubenite and Gadite warriors may return to their wives, children, and flocks east of the Jordan. The shaking hands in the piece are a dual representation of the vows early in the parashah/portion and the agreement between Moses (on the left with his Levite red and black clothing) and the sons of Reuben and Gad (from the tribes’ marching banners: on the right with Reuben’s blue for being “swift like the waters” [Gen. 49:4] and Gad’s red for being the “battalion on their [enemies’] heels” [Gen. 49:19]) toward the end of the parashah.
This piece can be personalized with an inscription of the name and date of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah! Be sure to include the spelling of the Hebrew name if possible (to type in Hebrew: http://www.branah.com/hebrew ).