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The Schmooze

In Song: Masei

James Tissot, ‘The Ark Passes Over the Jordan,’ 1896-1902.

Each week The Arty Semite connects the Torah reading — however tenuously — with a classic work of rock and roll.

This week’s parsha, Masei, traces the route of Israel’s travels through the desert over 40 years.

The tribal princes responsible for parceling out the land are appointed and the boundaries of the Promised Land are sketched. Forty-eight cities are to be given to the tribe of Levi, including six cities of refuge, three on either side of the Jordan River.

Laws and definitions relating to murder and manslaughter are given.

Finally, the claim of the tribe of Menashe is accepted, whereby women who inherit land are only to marry within their tribe in order to keep the land within the tribe.

On the subject of dividing up the land, this week’s song is “Subdivisions” by Rush, led by a nice Jewish boy, Geddy Lee.

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