Masei – Sheini

Another Chanukah Allusion?

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

This aliyah lists the places the Jews camped in the following fashion: “They traveled from the Red Sea and camped in the desert of Sin. They traveled from the desert of Sin and camped in Dafka,” etc. This lasts from verse 10 until verse 49 with only parenthetical deviation. Among the more familiar place names: Refidim, the Sinai desert, Kivros HaTaavah, (“Graves of the Craving” from parshas Behaaloscha, chapter 11), Kadesh and Mt. Hor. A personal favorite: Chasmonah. Some take it as another Biblical allusion to Chanukah that Chashmonah is the 25th place listed. (Chanukah is the 25th day of the month of Kislev and the Maccabees were Hasmoneans – i.e., Chashmonayim.)

We are told explicitly that Aharon died in the 40th year of wandering and that he was 123 years old. (We can easily calculate from this that Aharon was three years older than Moshe.)

The last place they camped was in the plains of Moab, across the Jordan from their final destination.

Download Audio File