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The Chafetz Project -
Melekhet Machashevet Citations
Mattot

    The following are online citations from Moshe Chafetz's 1710 work Melekhet Machashevet, found via an unfiltered Google search and other occasional searches.

    Not all links are still active, but relevant text is excerpted here in full.

    Parshat Mattot
    (From Numbers)

    Parshat Hashavua - Torah Tidbits (5758)

    About 32:2-5 (from p. 150b, second ed.):

    "Now the children of Gad and of Reuben had a great multitude of cattle" (ibid 1). This is what motivates their request. From where did these owners of property suddenly emerge, these new capitalists, whose possessions changed their outlook to the point where they became disgusted with "the pleasant land?" The reason is that they had more than the other tribes, because they were more powerful, that their members in the army (that fought the Midianites) looted more than all the other tribes." Thus the Ohr HaHayyim explains this (alongside other commentators, whose source is found in the midrash). Those who became rich as a result of the war saw before them the possibility of becoming even richer in "the land of Yazer, and the land of Gilad, which were places for cattle." (32:1) This profitable potential tempted them to stay on the other side of the Jordan.

    The children of Gad and Reuben were men of action, for whom 'reality' as it is defined here is the value they gave to 'practicality.' Their standpoint is one of 'business'as it is explained in their request "to Moses and Elazar the Cohen, and to the princes of the congregation." According to Rabbi Mosheh Hefetz: "Both the sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben needed to speak disparagingly of the land of Sihin and Og, declaring before the congregation, that it is a land for cattle without houses for settlement or cities with walls, doors and locks, because G-d had smitten it utterly, and it is only good for servants, servants of Moses who possess cattle. Most of the people did not understand their real intention. As a result, most of them did not want the land, believing that it was merely land for cattle to pasture in. Thus the Gadites and Reubenites did not find among the Children of Israel anyone who disagreed with them or raised questions about the land. They were 'polished' buisnessmen, who sold the rest of the people their 'line.' Only afterwards, did the people come and raise questions."

     

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