Cattle, Cattle Everywhere

Rabbi Shai Held

Parashat Mattot

As the Israelites inch closer to the Promised Land, the tribes of Reuben and Gad approach Moses with a request: to stay in the Transjordan with their cattle and children. Why do they mention their cattle first? Unconsciously, Reuben and Gad reveal what lies at the heart of their desire to stay where they are: acquisitiveness and materialism. They are so obsessed with their possessions that they forget the needs of their brethren, and they forget God. (5774)