Matot-Masei 5770-2010

"Do Not Pollute the Land...Do Not Defile the Land"

In the second of this week's parashiot, parashat Masei, the Al-mighty warns the people of Israel not to "pollute" or "defile" the land of Israel. Perhaps this warning should also be taken as an admonition that Jews neither excessively flatter Israel nor be overly critical of the land.

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Masei 5765-2005

"The Role of Witnesses and Testimony"

Parashat Masei features a chapter devoted to the case of accidental homicide. Nevertheless, this chapter also includes laws regarding premeditated homicide and definitively states that one witness is not acceptable in capital cases. This revolutionary Jewish juridical innovation underscores once again the principle of the sanctity of human life that governs all of Judaism.

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Matot-Masei 5762-2002

"Does the Torah Allow Its Citizens to Take the Law Into Their Own Hands?"

In parashat Masei, we encounter the astounding and perplexing law known as Eir Miklat, the City of Refuge. It is to the City of Refuge that an accidental killer must run in order to escape the vengeance of the next of kin, who has the right to kill the perpetrator if he catches him before he enters the city. Does Judaism allow its citizens to take the law into their own hands?

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