The following article is an adaptation o an article that appeared on Globe Tribune.Info back in 2011.
This week, Parshat Mattot will be welcomed by candle lighting 18 minutes before sunset. In New York City, candle lighting will be at 8:06 PM. On the Chabad.orgweb site, you can look up the time Shabbat begins in your city, as well as the time that it ends on Saturday night. There are also worthwhile articles that can be printed out Aish.com.
This week, Chabad.org has a post titled “The Fox and the Fishes” which appears in the Talmud.
An article titled “Five Surprising Facts About Judaism” appears on Aish.com. Although the article is geared to newcomers to Judaism and to people who are not Jewish, it is useful to people who are observant Jews as well. It is often through explaining a concept that one derives a deeper understanding.
The parsha starts out with the law of vows, and under what circumstances a vow may be annulled. Annulling a vow is only applicable between G-d and man, with religious obligations. In such cases,a panel of three religious laymen can find grounds to absolve a person of a vow to study, or to fast, as long as it does not involve an arrangement with another person, such as an agreement to buy or rent a house or to do some work. Getting a person to forgive a debt or a transgression is between two people. You can not go to confession and secure absolution.
It is especially interesting to note that the Jewish people used to be divided among twelve tribes, with a regional and tribal consciousness that was a part of a greater awareness of being part of the nation of Israel. At the time the Jewish people was in the desert, intermarriage between tribes was discouraged, not out of any sort of mutual dislike, but in order that each tribe maintain its unique customs and contributions to the greater good. Ultimately, G-d gives individuals and nations a mission. The greatest gift a person can give humanity is to realise his or her full potential.During the three weeks, the discussions of different tribes of Israel is a reminder that we should be accepting of each other, and appreciative of the unique gifts each person and group has the potential to bring to humanity at large. May the time speedily come when nations cease to fight against each other, but to work together for the common good of humanity and the world we share.
The following video deals with the means, both natural and supernatural, that Jews should defend the Holy Land. As in biblical times, the Jewish people must defend itself by natural means. But such natural means are of no use without turning to G-d through the Torah and through performance of the commandments. Please view this video before or after Shabbat, but not during the holy Shabbat.