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The Orders Are Out of Order (Mattot)

Preview: Why is the battle with Midian presented so disjointedly – that is, spread across two different parshahs, and interrupted with a series of laws and stories that seem entirely unrelated? What’s the relationship between the beginning of our parshah (laws of vows), its middle (war with Midian), and its end (request of Reuven and Gad to reside in the Transjordan)? Is there a subtle play on words going on with the name of the Midianite princess, “Kozbi bat Tzur?” How does the curious fact that Midian was ruled by five different kings shed light on a story from all the way back in sefer Shmot? This and more, below: a very quick outline of a theory trying to make sense out of the bizarre battle with Midian, along with several other, shorter insights on the parshah mixed into the footnotes.

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  1. Ruth Shane says:
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