The Hidden Story Of Brothers, Borders, And Moses’ Burial | Aleph Beta

The Hidden Story Of Brothers, Borders, And Moses’ Burial

The Hidden Story Of Brothers, Borders, And Moses’ Burial


Ami Silver


Parshat Matot contains a conversation between Moses and the tribes of Reuven and Gad. These tribes tell Moses something surprising: that they don't actually want to settle in the land of Israel. Instead, they want to settle in the land just to the east of the Jordan River. Moses is understandably upset and a long back and forth ensues.

On the surface, it seems like this is a negotiation about land, priorities, and loyalties. But when we dig deeper, there is so much more at play here. The conversation that Moses is having with these tribes is rich with references and allusions to a much earlier episode in the nation's history, another story of brotherly betrayal.

And not only does this conversation reach back into the past, it stretches forward into the future — because the lands under discussion are going to have surprising and important implications for Moses' own fate – the place of Moses' burial site. There may indeed be a redemptive wrinkle for Moses that emerges from this difficult confrontation with these two tribes.

Join Ami and Daniel in conversation in this Parsha Lab podcast to get the full picture.


Ami: Hello and welcome back to Parsha Lab. This is Ami Silver, writer at Aleph Beta.

Daniel: This is Daniel Loewenstein, also a writer at Aleph Beta.

Ami: Daniel, it's awesome to have a chance to do Parsha Podcast with you this week.

Daniel: I'm so excited.

Ami: So I just want to remind our listeners out there, if you like this material please sign up, subscribe to Parsha Lab and give us a five star rating so that other people can find it too.

So, Daniel, I want to look at part of Parshat Matot here that's telling a familiar story, but I think hidden within it is a very unfamiliar story, a kind of hidden story if you will, in the Torah. So in Chapter 32 in Bamidbar, the Book of Numbers, we have this whole story of, you know, Gad and Reuben, these two tribes, and they say, hey Moses, I know we want to all head into the Land of Israel but the place we are in right now, it's great pasture land for our flocks, and we've got a lot of sheep and we'd like to stay here instead of going into the land.

Daniel: Right, and Moses then has this major meltdown and starts yelling at them that they're going to sort of ruin everything that they've been working for in the desert, pretty terrifying to be the representatives of Gad and Reuben there, having Moses sort of accuse you of doing exactly what the spies did just a few generations ago.

Ami: Right, so it seems like this request, it kind of retriggers some really bad memories for Moses.

Daniel: Absolutely.

Ami: You're doing exactly what your ancestors did, you're going to ruin everything, no one is going to want to go into the land, because of this request that you're making. Okay so walk us through the story a little bit, what happens from there?

Looking at the Story of the Children of Gad and Reuben

Daniel: Well, if I remember correctly, the representatives of Gad and Reuben then sort of explain to Moses that they're happy to go into the land to fight with the rest of their brethren, and to even be the frontline soldiers in the conquest, and only when the land is conquered and divided will they go home. Then Moses says all right sounds good, let's do that.

Ami: Right so it's not only that they say no Moses you got it wrong, we're going to go to the land too, they even offer to go ahead of everybody else, right, we're going to be on the front lines of the battle. Only then, only after everyone's got their place and they're safe and sound, will we come back to this part of the land.

Daniel: I think they even follow through on that Ami. I think in the Book of Joshua it says that the sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben actually were the frontline soldiers in the battle and they actually didn't go home until everyone had settled in their place in the land.

Ami: Right, so there's a couple of things that I want to focus in on, on this story. One of them is something that Rabbi Fohrman dealt with at length in one of his previous parsha videos, and the other is kind of another, sort of hidden wrinkle in there that I think is worth exploring. So I want you to look with me at Verse 16. This is kind of the turning point. The tribes have just made their request, Moses's just given them a really strong reprimand, how could you be doing this, how could you be making the whole mistake all over again, and read for me if you don't mind, starting at Verse 16 here what Reuben and Gad respond to Moses.

Daniel: Okay. "Vayigshu eilav vayomru", the representatives of Reuben and Gad approached Moses and they say to him, "gidrot tzon nivneh l'miknenu po", so we'll build pens for our cattle here in the place that they want to settle, "v'arim l'tapeinu", and cities for our children. "V'anachnu nechaletz chushim", and we will gird ourselves with weapons, "lifnei Bnei Yisrael", before the rest of the Children of Israel, "ad asher im havi'anum el mekomam", until we bring them to their place, "v'yashav tapeinu b'arei hamivsar", and our children will dwell in these fortified cities, "mipnei yoshvei ha'aretz", I guess, in order to be protected from the other people who live around here.

"Lo nashuv el bateinu", we will not return to our homes, "ad hitnachel Bnei Yisrael ish nachalo", until all of the other Children of Israel inherit their inheritance. "Ki lo ninchal itam", for we will not inherit with them, "m'ever l'yarden v'hala'ah", from the other side of the Jordan, "ki ba'ah nachalteinu eleinu", for our inheritance has come to us, "m'ever hayarden mizrachah", on this side of the Jordan River.

Ami: Okay thanks. So in short, this is the pledge that we mentioned before. We're going to build homes for our children and flocks here, but we're going to go to the front lines of battle, right, and then only after will we return. Now in a previous video, Rabbi Fohrman focused on the first words of Verse 16, "Vayigshu eilav vayomru", it wasn't just that they launched into a response to Moses. Moses has a pretty good fear here. We've seen the entire project of this nation go down the tubes, because people didn't want to go to the land, they were afraid to, they were hesitant to, and here they are about to enter, and Moses, he's got reason to be afraid right? So they make a good argument here by saying you don't understand Moses, we're going to go out on the vanguards, were going to go fight first. But there's something they do before they even open their mouths and that's "vayigshu eilav", they come close to Moses.

Daniel: It feels like they are trying to also maybe show how much they care about it by approaching...

Ami: Right. So Rabbi Fohrman's argument there was that "Vayigshu eilav", they are literally closing the gap between them and Moses. They're not just standing there arguing, fighting over two sides of a table – I'll give you a counter offer, I'll give you a counter offer – but they in a sense put aside the language of arguments and just stepped forward and speak to him one person to another, relating to one another as human beings. In Rabbi Fohrman's words, they're building on the language of trust between them.

Daniel: Which is so interesting because it's such a great contrast to some of the other requests that the Sons of Israel have made throughout the Book of Numbers. Right, it seems to be that they're not interested in making things personal or developing a close relationship with Moses where they're asking for things in a real human way, they're sort of just treating him like a person they're going to hit with their complaints until he gives them what they want.

Ami: Right, that's a good point. The whole time Moses is just sort of this person who fills a role for the nation; he's more a symbol than a person. They turn to him when they need him, he gets angry at them when they treat him that way, but we don't see so much of this kind of human closeness between them.

Daniel: Really interesting.

Ami: So there's something else that "Vayigshu eilav" evokes for us though, Daniel. When you see those words, "Vayigshu eilav", what does it remind you of?

Biblical Connections to Gad and Reuben's Request

Daniel: Well, I do think that we have a similar language in the Book of Genesis, it's the first thing that pops into my head, where Judah approaches Joseph, who at that point did not know was his brother Joseph, "Vayigash eilav Yehudah", Judah drew close to him to explain to him the dire situation in his family, where if he didn't return home to his father with his brother Benjamin then his father might die.

It's interesting because it does sort of evoke also the same sort of human aspects to a negotiation. I don't know if that's where you're going with this, but that is really interesting that Joseph was this powerful viceroy, this leader figure and Judah and his brothers needed something from him, and when they made their request to get Benjamin back, Judah was doing it in a way that seems like it was very much on, you know, human terms and appealing to someone's emotional side rather than a negotiation.

Ami: So, Daniel, if we look back in Genesis 44 when Judah comes close to Joseph, right, "Vayigash eilav Yehudah", he actually says something that might not be so different from what the tribes of Reuben and Gad are saying to Moses right now – because what are they saying to Moses, they're saying Moses, we're going to go ahead of our brothers. We're going to in a sense protect them, go to the front lines, fight before them. We're going to take the responsibility for the rest of the nation on our shoulders.

Remember what Judah was basically saying to Joseph. Joseph had taken Benjamin as captive, as a prisoner and Judah told their father Jacob, Benjamin will come back to you, I'm going to take responsibility for him. The words he uses when he says it to Joseph are "Ki avdecha arav et hana'ar me'im avi leimor im lo avinenu eilechah v'chatati l'avi kol hayamim", your servant has pledged himself for the boy to my father. An areiv is somebody who is a guarantor, they take full responsibility for another person.

Daniel: You're saying that similarly the tribes of Reuben and Gad are offering to somehow be a guarantor for the rest of their brethren.

Ami: Even though they don't use that language, that's the offer they're making to Moses. There's the "vayigshu eilav", they come close to him and they say we're going to take responsibility for our brothers by going out to battle before them. As we're talking about it, something else that kind of pops into my mind is, what is Moses accusing of them here right now?

Daniel: Well, he seems to be accusing them of being insensitive to how the rest of their brethren will react to what they say.

Ami: Right and he's comparing them to who?

Daniel: I think he's comparing them to the spies.

Ami: He's comparing them to the spies. What was it that Joseph accused his brothers of when they first came to Egypt? What did he call them?

Daniel: He accused them of being spies.

Ami: He accused them of being spies. If you just kind of glance at some of the language that Moses uses, his first response to them, I'm going back now to Pasuk Vav, Verse 6, "Vayomer Moshe livnei Gad v'livnei Reuven ha'achechem yavo'u lamilchamah v'atem teshvu po", your brothers are going to go to battle and you're going to sit here? He's accusing them of abandoning their brothers, which is basically what Joseph's brothers did to him.

Now, there's another really odd thing that goes on here because as we said, Moses reconsiders Rueben and Gad's offer and he says yes, you know we're going to agree to do this, but Moses also adds another sort of unspoken condition to the deal. Would you mind reading it inside, do you have it in front of you, Daniel?

Daniel: Yes, sure. "V'yiten lahem Moshe", Moses gave to them, "livnei Gad v'livnei Reuven v'lachasi Menasheh ben Yosef", so he gave to the children of Gad and the children of Reuben and also to half of the tribe of Manasseh, son of Joseph, "et mamlechet sichon melech ha'emori", the Kingdom of Sihon, "v'et mamlechet Oig melech habashan", and the also the Kingdom of Og, "ha'aretz l'areha bigvulot ye'arei ha'aretz saviv", basically all of the land and its borders.

Ami: So what did Moses do here that's really weird?

Daniel: Moses seems to be adding in half of the tribe of Manasseh into the equation.

Ami: So yes, he says Reuben and Gad, you're not going to be the only tribes on this side of the Jordan, there's going to be half of the tribe of Manasseh here on this side with you too. He sets the other half of Manasseh's plot in the Land of Israel, on the Western side of the Jordan. So effectively Reuben and Gad make this request, Moses agrees to it, and then he just slips in there half of another tribe onto their plot of land.

Daniel: Ami, it's fascinating you're pointing this out. If you would've asked me to recount this story for you, I would've thought that the story said that half of the tribe of Manasseh also asked to inherit land on the other side of the Jordan, but they actually don't show up in the story until this point, and we don't even have any record of them asking for anything. Is that really true?

Ami: That is true, Daniel. Read all the verses in between that we skipped, from... we started 16, 17 and we ended up down here at 33. This is the first time we hear about this half tribe show up.

Daniel: It's fascinating.

The Sons of Reuben, Gad... and Joseph?

Ami: It's bizarre. Right, and what's even stranger is look at how the tribes are named here in Verse 33. "V'yiten lahem Moshe livnei Gad", the children of Gad, "v'livnei Reuven", the children of Reuben, "v'lachasi Menasheh ben Yosef", and a half of the tribe of Manasseh, son of Joseph. Now, it might make sense that Manasseh is called son of Joseph, because as we know, Joseph split into two tribes, but I think that there's something telling in the fact that he's called Manasseh, son of Joseph, because think about this whole kind of meta-context were looking at here. There's "Vayigash", there's brothers coming close to take care of brothers. There's an accusation that the brothers are abandoning brothers and there's a show of solidarity between the tribes that otherwise seems like it might lead breakdown. Now, do you remember Daniel, where Manasseh was born and why he was given the name he was given?

Daniel: I'm pretty sure that Manasseh was born in the land of Egypt and that his name has something to do with the fact that Joseph was abandoned.

Ami: So yes, Manasseh was born in Egypt but let's just look at the verse when he's born and why Joseph gives him the name he does. I'm reading to you now from Genesis Chapter 41. It says that Joseph has two sons and in Verse 51, "Vayikra Yosef et shem habechor Menashe", he calls his firstborn son Manasseh, "ki nashani Elokim et kol amali v'et kol beit avi", because God has "nashani", which biblically means 'allowed me to forget,' or 'made me forget,' "et kol amali v'et kol beit avi", all of my toil and all of my father's home. In a sense Joseph is naming his firstborn son in Egypt "the child through whom God has allowed me to forget all the pain of my family and my father's home".

Daniel: Wow.

Ami: That's his firstborn son, the child who allows us to forget the pain of our family's past. Look who Moses chooses to live on the two sides of the border of the Land of Israel. Manasseh seems to be the tribe that somehow is able to bridge between the brothers, he's the child who for some reason we can venture to guess why Joseph felt this way when Manasseh was born, but somehow what the tribe of Manasseh embodies is an ability to not be stuck and hung up on all of the fights of the past, but to somehow move into a new stage where that's not defining how were moving forward into the future.

Daniel: Interesting, you're saying that even though Manasseh for Joseph symbolized his ability to move on without his family, and here Manasseh is symbolizing the ability of the ability to forget something?

Ami: Well, I would say that for Joseph, Manasseh isn't just symbolizing his ability to move on without his family. He's symbolizing for Joseph the ability to live a life that's not defined by all of the pain of what his brothers did to him.

Here, when Reuben and Gad are threatening to arouse that same breakdown within the nation, and it's that same breakdown between brothers that Moses is afraid of, and they're are somehow showing that same move towards closeness that Judah exhibited towards Joseph, that "vayigash", that move towards closing the gap that was created between the tribes.

Manasseh becomes the perfect tribe who can fill in that space. Manasseh is going to be able to remind all the tribes of the nation that you know what, those people on the other side of the Jordan, they haven't left you, they haven't abandoned you, and all of you in the Land of Israel, you don't have to hold this grudge against Reuben and Gad, were all part of one family. The pain of the past, "amali v'et kol beit avi", the sale of Joseph, all of the fights and jealousy between brothers, we don't need to live in that same story anymore.

Daniel: Fascinating. Ami, I hear what you're saying. I'm a little bit on the fence because I think also part of what Joseph's intention was in naming Manasseh what he named him was that he was sort of moving on and letting go of his family, but I do hear what you're saying that there's an element of also finding peace and letting go of brotherly animosity and family animosity. What's going on here is that Moses is concerned that there will be this animosity because people are separating and having Manasseh be the bridge, that's sort of a symbol of letting go of animosity; it's an intriguing idea.

Ami: So there's one other thing that I think is going on here in the text that I think tends to go unnoticed and it has to do with the exact locations and area of land that Reuben, Gad and this half tribe of Manasseh are settling.

If you remember Daniel, these plots of land that they're all sitting in, these are the lands that they conquered from Sihon and Og, from the King of the Amorites and Og the King of Bashan, and it's these lands that the Torah, in the previous parshiot, especially Chukat, the Torah goes through this whole history of these lands, they used to belong Moab, they were taken over by the Amorites, now, as the nation is on their way to the land, they conquer it from Sihon.

I want to look with you at some of the names, specifically – there's a lot here to unpack – but one of the names of the places that were settled here by Reuben and go with me where else that location comes up. I'm looking now at Verse 37, again we're in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 32, Verse 37. It says "U'venei Reuven banu et Cheshbon v'et Elalei", the children of Reuben built up the cities of Heshbon and Elealeh, "v'et Kiryatayim", and this other city Kiriathaim. Then in the next verse, "V'et Nevo v'et Ba'al Me'on", they also built up Nebo and Ba'al Me'on and then there's a whole other slew of cities that were built up. Daniel, Nebo, what do you know about Nebo?

Daniel: Well it sounds like the mountain where Moses dies, Har Nevo (Mount Nebo).

Ami: Right, so in Deuteronomy we hear about this mountain, Mount Nebo where Moses dies, and before we go to the way end of the Torah where Moses actually ascends Mount Nebo, I want to look at a few verses in the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy in Chapter 3, where Moses is actually retelling this whole scene of Reuben and Gad and the request that they made.

Basically, in Chapter 3 of Deuteronomy, starting in Verse 16, Moses starts talking about how these tribes made a request to settle these other lands and he retells in the way of several words, the whole story, the deal they made et cetera. What's really interesting is that when Moses is retelling this story of Reuben's and Gad's request, he goes right from there into Verse 23, "V'etchanan el Hashem b'eit hahi leimar", Moses says, and then at that time I started begging God. Now, Daniel, I'm not going to read all the verses here but when Moses starts saying "V'etchanan", what's he referring to, what's he begging God for?

Daniel: I believe he was begging God to be allowed into the land that he was forbidden to enter.

Ami: Exactly. He was begging God "Ebara na v'ereh et eretz hatovah", let me pass into the land, "asher b'ever hayarden", on the other side of the Jordan. So here it's really strange, Moses is telling the story of the tribes who settled on one side of Jordan. He tells Joshua – I left that out – he tells Joshua here in one or two verses, Joshua don't be afraid, you're going to be able to win in battle there, and then he says and at that very moment I started begging God to allow me to cross the river and enter into the land.

Daniel: You'd expect that to happen earlier because in the chronology we have in the Book of Numbers it seems like first Moses hit the rock, and then only after that did he go through all the battles and all the conquering and then the request was made from Gad and Reuben, and you'd expect Moses to start praying for the decree to be reversed right after it was given.

Ami: Exactly. It's kind of strange, I wonder if there's an implication here that somehow the whole affair of Reuben and Gad and Manasseh and people who are willing to settle on the other side of the land, I wonder if somehow that evoked in Moses that last final plea of I really want to go in, please God, these people are going to stay on this side of the Jordan, but can you allow me to cross that river, can you allow me in? We all know...

Daniel: Interesting, what would the connection be?

The Burial of Moses

Ami: So I'm not really sure, but there is something really strange that ends up happening. Right, because we all know Moses doesn't budge from that place, he stays in that plot of land. If we go to the very last chapter of the whole Torah, Deuteronomy 34, "Vaya'al Moshe m'arvot Moav", Moses ascends from the plains of Moab, again Moab's lands are all of these lands of Sihon and Og that the people had conquered right there on the Eastern side of the Jordan, those were the lands that Reuben and Gad settled, "vaya'al Moshe el Har Nevo rosh hapisgah", he climbs up Mount Nebo, to the mountain top, "asher al penei Yericho", and God shows him a whole landscape, he gets to see where all of the tribes are going to settle.

God says to him "Zot ha'aretz asher nishbati l'Avraham Yitzchak ul'Yaakov laymor l'zaracha etnena", this is the land I promised the forefathers to give to their descendants, "hiriticha b'einecha v'shamah lo ta'avar", but Moses you're going to look at it with your eyes, you're not going to pass into that land. Moses dies there in the land of Moab and he's buried in the land of Moab. It says nobody knows Moses' burial place, but we know the general region where Moses was buried. Where was that region?

Daniel: It sounds like it's in the land that was given to Reuben.

Ami: It sounds like it's in Reubens plot. Now there's a discussion, I'll just fill in here. Maybe it was in Gad's land, there seems to be some verse a little bit earlier in V'zot Habrachah that it implies that Moses is somehow buried in Gad's plot, but this land that Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh settled on the other side of the Jordan, this plot of land that was somehow and extension of the Land of Israel, it becomes the burial place of Moses. So I want to ask you something Daniel, did Moses get buried in the land or not?

Daniel: Well, I mean it seems pretty clear from the fact that God denied Moses' request that where he is, is not considered to be part of the Land of Israel, but it's also not some random place either, it's not like he got buried in Spain, he's buried in a land that is inhabited by the Children of Israel, even if it's not in the borders of the Land of Israel.

Ami: It's really kind of strange. Moses ends up being buried in sort of Israel Heights. The extension of the Land of Israel, the part that's not the inheritance of the forefathers, but it's the part that was settled by these two tribes who wanted to stay there and who God agreed to give that land to and who Moses agreed to give that land to.

Daniel: So, Ami, these are really fascinating things that we've been talking about. We talked about the connection between the request of the Sons of Gad and the Sons of Reuben, to the request of Judah of Joseph to return Benjamin. We spoke about the connection between Manasseh's role in Joseph's life as the thing that let him put aside his animosity with his family and Manasseh's role bridging the gap of Reuben and Gad and the rest of the Children of Israel as a way to sort of make sure there is no animosity there either, and now we're also talking about how Moses is actually buried in a sort of middle ground that's not the Land of Israel, but it's also not completely separate either. So what do you make of all this?

Connecting Gad, Rueben and Moses' Burial Place

Ami: So, Daniel, I think that there's a lot here that's sort of the beginnings of a theory. Here are some of the things that I am noticing. There were these tribes, who as they were about to enter the Land of Israel, they say you know what, we want to stay right here on this side of the Jordan. Moses agrees, God agrees, and they prove that their remaining connection to their brothers on the other side.

When Moses retells that story, in the wake of their request Moses is saying that he started to beg God at that moment, please let me go into the land with the rest of this nation, please let me cross that river and enter the land that you've promised us. God does not fulfill that request. But Moses is not ultimately lost either, because Moses gets somehow taken in by those tribes who show their commitment to their brothers and still live outside the land.

It's almost as if in some crazy way, the whole requests of Gad and Reuben and the whole placement of half the tribe of Manasseh there, maybe it was all some kind of pretext for Moses to not be lost to this nation for all of eternity. Yes, Moses did not enter the land, but you know what, he didn't just disappear into the desert somewhere. He got absorbed into his people who remained with him right there at the threshold of entering the land.

I almost think that perhaps that kind of brotherly devotion and commitment that we were seeing from Reuben and Gad was extended to Moses himself. He could've very easily been totally abandoned by the rest of the nation, the leader who lead them out of Egypt all the way up to the land and then just disappear and not have anything to do with them anymore. But although he didn't enter the land in his lifetime, his burial place, his eternal legacy, so to speak, exists among his people, and exists specifically with those people who made a special request to stay outside the land and remain connected to the rest of the nation at the same time.

Daniel: Ami, that's really interesting. What I think I'm hearing you say is that Reuben and Gad had this moment where it looked like they're going to be abandoning their brothers. They're going to be separated in some way, going to be completely disconnected from the rest of the Children of Israel, but that ended up being an illusion and they ended up being able to be connected through this bridge of Manasseh.

Moses was also faced with this potential complete separation from his nation, he wasn't going to be allowed into Israel, and he wasn't going to even be allowed to be buried in Israel. Somehow because of the devotion that the Sons of Gad and the Sons of Reuben express towards the rest of their brethren, which allows them to reunite even through a kind of separation, they also are able to house Moses in their territory, allowing for a kind of reuniting of Moses with his people even though he was supposed to be separate as well.

Ami: You know, Daniel, I really like the way that you framed that because it kind of makes it clearer to me that Reuben and Gad had a devotion to brotherhood, had a devotion to the nation that somehow superseded their devotion to the land itself. As much as Moses wanted to enter the land, that devotion to the land was not fulfilled, but the devotion to brotherhood was ultimately fulfilled. Somehow the tribe's devotion to each other that transcended physical location was also able to be a devotion that included Moses with them as well.

Daniel: Ami, I also wonder if the reason Moses decided to try and pray again to be allowed to enter the land, specifically after the whole episode with the Sons of Gad and the Sons of Reuben, was because Moses was inspired by their expression of love and connection?

Ami: Perhaps that gave him hope, right? Perhaps that made him feel oh, there's an opportunity for things to change?

Daniel: Right. There was this moment of feared separation and that was able to be turned around and maybe he thought that his feared separation could be turned around too.

Ami: And whether or not Moses realized it...

Daniel: It kind of was.

Ami: Because even though he didn't enter the land, he was ultimately buried with his nation.

Daniel: Ami, what do you take away from this for your personal life? I'm thinking already of a lot of interesting implications for my life. What do you think?

Ami: I feel like it's hard to compare my own life goals to those of Moses our leader, you know. But one thing that's kind of modeled here is it's possible to long for something your entire life, and you may not get that particular thing that you've been longing for. But even if you don't receive it in its most pristine, specific way, it's possible that there is still some kind of fulfillment that can come to you, even if it's not the exact thing you've been wanting. I see Moses as somebody who until his last breath was wanting to enter the land, and again, he may not have even realized that he was receiving a plot with his nation, instead of a plot in the land, but that is ultimately what came from it.

Daniel: I really like that idea, Ami. I was thinking about the connection and the devotion that you were talking about between the Sons of Gad and the Sons of Reuben and how even though they didn't sort of fit the mold of the rest of the Children of Israel, and they decided to sort of do their own thing, but that didn't mean that there wasn't a devotion and there wasn't a connection. I think there are always a lot of people in our lives who maybe we find hard to be close to because they look different or they seem different, but when you get down to their core commitments, you know, really we're really more similar than you think and we're more connected than we think. Maybe the Sons of Gad and the Sons of Reuben are a good reminder of that.

Ami: They literally transcended borders. So, Daniel, I'm really glad we got a chance to talk these things out. It's been on my mind, this conversation really helped open some of the different pathways and I think that there's a lot more to explore here.

For all you listeners out there, we'd love to hear your comments, both on what we discussed and if you find anything else, email us at and please remember, subscribe to Parsha Lab. If you've already subscribed, get your friends to subscribe and as always, be sure to check all of the really rich material we have on Matot and Masei on our website at and also with the Ninth of Av coming up, we have tons of great videos and content for you to see there.

Shabbat shalom everybody, Shabbat shalom Daniel.

Daniel: Shabbat shalom Ami.

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