: From the Rabbi’s Study
(by Rabbi Ari Enkin)

This week’s Torah portion is “Matos” (Numbers 30:2-32:42). Among the many episodes in “Matos” is the novel request made by the tribes of Reuven and Gad, just prior to the Jewish people’s conquest of the Land of Israel. Reuven and Gad asked Moses if they may be permitted to remain on the east bank of the Jordan River (the area known as “Jordan” today), rather than crossing over into the main part of the Land of Israel with the rest of the tribes.

Moses was very taken aback at their request “Will your brothers go to war across the Jordan while you remain here?” Moses did not understand how or why Reuven and Gad would want to separate themselves from the rest of the nation. Especially after the tragedy experienced by the Jewish nation when the spies came back with their ill-fated report about the Land 39 years earlier.

However, soon it became clear that Reuven and Gad were not draft dodgers nor were they any less Zionistic than the rest of the Jewish people. God had blessed these tribes with huge flocks and they were very talented shepherds. The east bank of the Jordan had vast, ideal lands and pastures for their animals. These tribes understood that their best contribution to the nation would be made “from the outside”. In order to reassure Moses of their noble intentions they said that they would first cross over into Israel to fight “the War of Independence” alongside their brethren, and only then return to settle on the other side of the Jordan.

There are many messages and lessons that can be learned from this brief exchange between Moses and the heads of the tribes of Reuven and Gad. Allow me to suggest one of my own. All United with Israel supporters are in no small way the Reuvens and Gads of today. Believe it or not, Israel’s War of Independence is not over. The war continues today. Whether it be attempts to de-legitimize Israel around the world through the media, sending these absurd flotillas for provocation, or firing rockets from Gaza, we’re in a war.

It is our friends around the world such as yourselves who are living “outside the Land” as Reuven and Gad did, but are very attached to the people living in the Land. You make a huge difference. Your contribution to the People of Israel is very significant. Your efforts around the world, fighting the PR war and spreading the TRUTH about Israel – whether it be at rallies, family gathering or even on Facebook – YOU are making a a huge difference!

Israel needs the Reuvens and Gads to win the war. Thank you for being United with Israel and doing your part.

Shabbat Shalom from the Holy Land…

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