Parshas Maasei-Summary of the Parsha

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Parshas Maasei

Pesukim: 132 [Siman:מחלה חולה ]

Haftorah: Yermiyahu 2:4-28; 4:1-2[1]


Number of Mitzvos:

There are a total of Six Mitzvos in Parshas Maasei; Two positive commands and Four negative commands. The following are the commands in the order listed by the Sefer Hachinuch.


A. Positive:

1. Mitzvah 408/Positive 171: To distribute cities to the Levites and that they are to serve as cities of refuge.

2. Mitzvah 409/Positive 172: To send to a city of refuge one who killed Beshogeg-by accident.


B. Negative:

1. Mitzvah 410/Negative 238: Not to kill one who is liable for death until he is brought to court.

2. Mitzvah 411/Negative 239: The prohibition for a witness to also act as a judge in the case.

3. Mitzvah 412/Negative 240: Not to take a ransom to exempt a murderer from being killed.

4. Mitzvah 413/Negative 241: Not to take a ransom to exempt an accidental murderer from being exiled.


  1. The Travels of Bnei Yisrael:
    • These are the travels of the Jewish people from Egypt, under the leadership of Moshe and Aaron. Moshe wrote of the travels of Bnei Yisrael.
    • On the 15th of the 1st month, Bnei Yisrael left Ramseis/Egypt in the presence of all the Egyptians. The Egyptians were busy burying their dead while the Jews were leaving. G-d also punished their gods during this time.
    • Next, they traveled to Sukkos.
    • Next, they traveled to Eisam in the edge of the desert.
    • Next, they traveled to Pi Hachiros.
    • Next, they traveled a journey of three days to Marah.
    • Next, they traveled to Elim which had 12 fountains of water and 70 date palms.
    • Next, they traveled to Yam Suf.


Sheiyni (according to most Chumashim)

  • Next, they traveled to Midbar Sin.
  • Next, they traveled to Dophkah.
  • Next, they traveled to Alush.
  • Next, they traveled to Rephidim, and there was no water to drink.
  • Next, they traveled to Midbar Sinai.
  • Next, they traveled to Kivros Hataavah.
  • Next, they traveled to Chatzeros.
  • Next, they traveled to Rithmah.
  • Next, they traveled to Rimmon Peretz.
  • Next, they traveled to Livnah.
  • Next, they traveled to Rissah.
  • Next, they traveled to Kehelasah.
  • Next, they traveled to Har Shafer.
  • Next, they traveled to Charadah.
  • Next, they traveled to Makhelos.
  • Next, they traveled to Tachas.
  • Next, they traveled to Terach.
  • Next, they traveled to Mithkah.
  • Next, they traveled to Chashmonah.
  • Next, they traveled to Moseiros.
  • Next, they traveled to Benei Yaakan.
  • Next, they traveled to Chor Hagidgad.
  • Next, they traveled to Yatvasah.
  • Next, they traveled to Avronah.
  • Next, they traveled to Etzion Gaver.
  • Next, they traveled to Kadesh-Midbar Tzin.
  • Next, they traveled to Har Hahor, which is at the end of the land of Edom.
  • The death of Aaron: Aaron ascended Har Hahor and passed away in the 40th year on the first of the 5th Aaron was 123 years old at his death. The king of Arad from Canaan heard of Aarons death.
  • Next, they traveled to Tzalmonah.
  • Next, they traveled to Punon.
  • Next, they traveled to Ovos.
  • Next, they traveled to Iyei Haavarim on the border of Moav.
  • Next, they traveled to Divon Gad.
  • Next, they traveled to Almon Divlasaimah.
  • Next, they traveled to Harei Haavarim.
  • Next, they traveled to Arvos Moav, by the Yarden at Yericho. They encamped by the Yarden from Beit Hayeshimos until Avel Shittim


Sheiyni (according to Torah Temima/Chabad) Shelishi (according to most Chumashim) (Chamishi when combined with Matos)


  1. Commands associated with the conquer of Eretz Yisrael:
    • Hashem instructed Moshe to command Bnei Yisrael that upon entering Eretz Yisrael and conquering the nations they are to destroy all their temples, all their idols and their accessories. All the inhabitant nations are to be driven out of the land.

Shelishi (according to Torah Temima/Chabad)

  • Inheritance: The portions of inheritance of the land are to be be distributed through a raffle system. To the many you shall increase the inheritance while to the few you are to decrease. Wherever the lot shall fall for the individual, that is where he will inherit.
  • The dangers of not driving out the nations: If you do not drive out the gentile inhabitants, they will harass you and cause you anguish and suffering, and I will do to you that which I intended to do to them.

  1. The borders of Eretz Yisrael:
    • Hashem spoke to Moshe saying that he is to command the Jewish people of the borders of Israel.
    • Southern border: The southeast border is at the edge of the Dead Sea and Midbar Tzin. The border is to stretch to Maaleh Akrabbim and Kadesh Barneia and from Atzmon to Nachalas Mitzrayim, which is the southwest border.
    • Western border: The western border is the Mediterranean Sea.
    • Northern border: The northwest border is Har Hahar. The northern border is to stretch to Chamas towards Tzedad. The border is from Zifronto Chatzar Einan.
    • Eastern border: The eastern border begins with Shafam to Rivlah, till the Kinneret. The border descends to the Jordan River, till the edge of the Dead Sea.
    • Moshe commanded Bnei Yisrael that the above borders of land are to be distributed to the 9 1/2 tribes, excluding the tribes of Reuvien, Gad and half of Menashe, who already took their portion on the eastern side of the Jordon.


Revi’i (Shishi when combined with Matos)

  1. The people inheriting the land:
    • Hashem spoke to Moshe saying that the following are the names of those who will be inheriting the land to the Jewish people: Elazar Hakohen and Yehoshua Ben Nun and one leader per tribe is to inherit the land for their tribe. The following are the names of the tribal leaders.
      • Shevet Yehuda: Kalev Ben Yefuneh
      • Shevet Shimon: Shmuel Ben Amihud
      • Shevet Binyamin: Elidad Ben Kislon
      • Shevet Dan: Bukki Ben Yogli
      • Shevet Menashe: Channiel Ben Eiphod
      • Shevet Ephraim: Kemual Ben Shiftan
      • Shevet Zevulun: Elitzafan Ben Parnach
      • Shevet Yissachar: Paltiel Ben Azzan
      • Shevet Asher: Achihud Ben Shelomi
      • Shevet Naftali: Padahel Ben Ammihud


  1. The cities of the Levites:
    • Hashem spoke to Moshe by the Jordan saying that he is to command Bnei Yisrael to distribute cities to the Levites from amongst their inheritance of land.
    • The space surrounding the cities: The Levite cities are to contain an open space of 1000 Amos surrounding their cities to be designated for their animals and property. The city is to have a total of 2000 Amos of open space surrounding it, [the first thousand as a Migrash and the second for their fields and vineyards].
    • The cities of refuge: The Levites are to receive six cities of refuge for murderers to seek refuge in, and 42 cities for them to dwell in, for a total of 48 cities.
    • From whose property are the Levite cities appropriated: Those tribes who have a larger portion of land are to allocate from within their property more cities to the Levites, while those tribes who have a smaller portion of land are to give them less cities.


Shishi (Shevi’i when combined with Matos)

  1. The cities of refuge:
    • Hashem spoke to Moshe saying that he is to command Bnei Yisrael that upon then passing the Jordan towards the land of Canaan they are to designate cities of refuge for one guilty of unintentional manslaughter. The cities will be used by the murderer as a refuge from the relative of the victim. The murderer is not to be killed until he has a court case.
    • Amount and locations: There are to be six Arei Miklat. Three of the cities are to be in Eretz Yisrael and the other three past the Jordan river. They are to be a city of refuge for all accidental murderers, whether a Jew or a convert.
    • An intentional or unintentional murderer: If the murderer intentionally or premeditatedly killed someone using a metal object, or a stone object, or a wooden object, then he is to be put to death. The Goal Hadam [relative of the victim] is to kill the murderer. If, however, the murderer killed him without intent and he is not his enemy, then the assembly shall judge between him and the relatives and save him from being killed by the relatives. They are to escort him to the city of refuge.
    • The conditions of the Ir Miklat: The accidental murderer is to remain in the city of refuge until the anointed Kohen Gadol passes away. If the murderer leaves the city of refuge he has given up his blood and may be killed by the Goal Hadam (avenger).
    • Laws of a murder trials: A single witness may not be used as testimony to kill a murderer. One may not take a ransom from the murderer to save him from punishment of death or Ir Miklat. “Do not corrupt and defile the land that I dwell in by not giving due punishment to the murderers, as the land will not have atonement for the spilled blood. I am Hashem who dwells amongst the Jewish people.”


  1. The marriage of Bnos Tzelafchad:
    • The family of Gilead, son of Machir, who is the son of Menasheh, approached Moshe complaining that the lands inherited by the daughters of Tzelafchad will be inherited by their husbands and consequently leave our tribe. Hashem agreed with their complaint and Moshe thus commanded the daughters of Tzelafchad to marry within their tribe. He also commanded all the Jewish people that all female heirs may only marry into their tribe in order to prevent a family heritage from falling into the hands of other tribes.
    • The daughters of Tzelafchad; Machlah, Tirtzah, Chaglah, Milcah, and Noah did as they were instructed and married their cousins from the tribe of Menasheh.



[1] So is followed by Sepharadi and Chabad communities. However, Ashkenazi communities do not read these two verses and rather add verse 3:4.

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