Yehoshua 13

לעילוי נשמות אמתינו היקרות Esther Oppenheimer and Sarah Shenker עליהן השלום, each deeply devoted and proud to transmit their families’ Torah legacy to the next generations. From their children, Nina and Chaim Shenker

Seven Years Later...

While the majority of it is discussed passingly over the course of two chapters, the conquest of the land actually took seven long years. After seven years of battles to acquire the land, Joshua spent seven years dividing the land and settling it among the Tribes.

Joshua divides the land on the west of the Jordan, the Navi details how Moses gave two and a half Tribes their portion on the eastern side. You may recall how in parshas Matos, the Tribes of Reuben and Gad asked for their inheritance on the east of the Jordan; they were later joined by half the Tribe of Menashe. They said that they would fight the Canaanite nations along with the other Tribes and not settle their land until the other Tribes received their portions. That time was now.

In discussing the conquest of the land of Reuben, the Navi mentions Balaam and refers to him as a sorcerer rather than a prophet. The Radak explains that Balaam really was only a sorcerer and that the gift of prophecy only came to him temporarily. He suggests that it was perhaps out of respect for Israel that G-d sent him a message through a malach (angel) rather than through his normal sorcerous means.

After describing the portions of Reuben, Gad and Menashe, but before moving on to the other Tribes, the Navi reminds us that the portion of the Tribe of Levi is not real estate, but the service of G-d in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and, later, the Beis HaMikdash (Temple).

Author: Rabbi Jack Abramowitz