Parshas Matos!

Dear Friends and Family,

I don’t want to make excuses, but I have Thank G-d been super busy and have not had time to write. This past week, my heart has been in Israel, constantly looking at the news for updates. As the war has escalated, I decided that I needed to share some Torah in merit for the safety and success of our brothers and sisters in Israel. 
To get refreshed on the Parshas Matos, I opened up The Little Medrash says ( it was all I could find…). In this week’s Parshah the Jewish people go to war again Midyan and Moav. They are successful and have no casualties. The spoils of the war are divided up and the tribes of Gad and Reuven ask Moshe to settle east of the Jordan river. They were rich from the spoils and owned large flocks of sheep and wanted the large fields for pasture land. Moshe was unhappy with this request and explained to them that they are strong tribes and the Jewish people will think that they are afraid of fighting the Caananim and will discourage them from conquering the land. 
They promised Moshe that they will build cattle houses and and towns for their families and then they will leave their wives to help their brothers fight the war again Caanan. Not only will they help fight the war, but they will stay until the land is apportioned. Moshe tells them that if they keep their promise, they can stay in the land and if they do not,  they will get nothing. 
When the two tribes requested land on the east side of the Jordan, they made a mistake. They thought there would not be enough land for their cattle  in Israel. This was not true. Hashem created Israel so that it would be big enough for the Jewish people and their belongings. Gad and Reuven gave up living in a land of kedusha (holiness). These tribes separated themselves from the rest of the Jewish people. 
The two and a half tribes kept their word. They and their descendants followed the Torah. For the holidays, they traveled to the Bais Hamikdash in Jerusalem. However, since they lived so far, their Torah observance became weaker over time. When the Jewish nation later sinned and was taken into exile, G-d exiled these tribes first. 
We learn from this how important it is to associate with Torah Jews and live close to a Torah community. We are influenced by our surroundings. Right now as a Jew in America, I feel so far away. My friend who is living there told me how her co-worker can not eat or sleep because her husband was called up. I am thankful not to be in her position, but what am I doing to help? The three weeks started this past Tuesday and we all have to answer the question of what are we doing? How are we helping fellow Jews both at home and abroad? 
May Shabbas bring peace and happiness to the world and May we see Mashiach soon.