Torah portion Massai Num 33:1 – 36:13

Massai is Hebrew for "Travels."

Summary of Massai: Moses wrote down the travels of the Children of Israel from the time they left Egypt until they arrived at the plains of Moab by the Jordan River facing Jericho.  The Torah provides a recitation of the lists of the 42 travels and encampments.  Moses instructs the Children of Israel to drive out the inhabitants, destroy their holy sites, and live in the land.  He repeats the instructions to divide the land by lottery and size of the tribe.  If they don’t drive out the inhabitants of the land, they will be in trouble.  YHVH instructs Moses as to the borders of the Promised Land.  YHVH names ten men from each of the tribes to live in Canaan to function as heads of their family’s sections determined by lot.  YHVH tells Moses to instruct the Children of Israel to provide Levites 48 cities in their territories (6 of which will be for refuge – 3 on either side of the Jordan), as the Levites are not given their own land.  The cities of refuge are to provide sanctuary for the man who commits an accidental homicide (e.g., the head of his axe flies off and kills another man).  The man who commits the accidental homicide must remain in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest.  There must be two witnesses to a murder.  If a murderer is found guilty, he must be executed – his life cannot be ransomed. The Manasseh-ites approach Moses for clarification of the rules of daughters’ inheritances based on the ruling in favor of the daughters of Tzelophehad.  Their concern is that any of those women who marry out of their family will forfeit the Manasseh-ite land to their husbands.   Moses speaking on YHVH’s behalf says that the woman covered by the rules dealing with the daughters of Tzelophehad can only marry within their tribe.  Therefore, Tzelophehad’s daughters married their cousins.