Parasha Mattos – Where are your Priorities??

Parasha Mattos – Where are your Priorities??


We are are continuing our weekly Series:

Today, we are learning, how Parasha Mattos speaks to those who seek Recovery

What do my choices say about me?

As we all know in this Parasha we learn about how Klal Yisroel were about to enter the Land of Israel.  And then the tribes of Reuben and Gad made a very very peculiar request from Moshe.  Does this make sense at all?  Don’t forget that when the entire nation left Egypt they marched to Mt Sinai and received the Torah just 49 days later.  And about ten months later, they were told that it’s time to enter the “Promised Land.”  Regretably, thanks to the derogatory remarks of the spies, they had to spend forty years in the desert.  Just imagine the frustration they felt because their dreams to enter Eretz Yisroel were dashed!!

So they waited and waited – a full forty years – until finally, they got the green light to finally enter Israel.  Of course, there was a great deal of excitement and joy that their day had finally come to arrive to their Homeland.  And right in the midst of the preparation to cross over the Jordan, all of a sudden the tribes of Reuben and Gad come to Moshe and basically tell him…We’re not so excited about going into Eretz Yisroel.  In fact we’d rather stay on this side of the Jordan.  They said to Moshe:

“Pens for the flock shall we build here for our livestock and cities for our small children.”

You can just imagine what a downer that was for the rest of the tribes who were more excited than a plane load of Jews flying today with Nefesh B’Nefesh to make Aliyah!   Just think how Moshe felt about this request.  After all, he spent the best years of his life saving us from slavery in Egypt, shlepping up and down a mountain without any food or drink, putting up with a bunch of disloyal and complaining Yidden, and then was told that he couldn’t enter The Land!  And now he has to deal with these tribes who could have – but didn’t want to live in Israel!!  So, Moshe said to the tribes of Reuven and Gad:

“Build for yourselves cities for your small children and pens for your flock.”

Let’s consider how this Message speaks to us...

Take a look at the subtle but enormous difference between what Reuvan and Gad said to Moshe.  And then what Moshe said back to them.

In Reuvan/Gad’s remarks they first mentioned the livestock THEN the children.  In Moshe’s remarks, he first mentioned the children THEN the livestock!

SO WHAT?!  Does it really matter in what order the livestock and the children are mentioned?

Let’s consider why this is such an enormous difference.  As those of us seeking Recovery have learned from the Big Book on page 14 and many other places, the emphasis in our Program is the Destruction of Self-Centeredness.  Now as we consider the PRIORITIES of Reuven/Gad, we see that they put the Livestock first.  And what does Livestock represent?  OUR MATERIAL WEALTH!  A FOCUS ON THE HERE AND THE NOW!!

So what do the Small Children represent? OUR SPIRITUAL WEALTH!  A FOCUS ON THE ETERNAL!!

The message is pretty clear and loud now…we must always ask ourselves, What are my PRIORITIES?  Are they just on my own personal self-centered and SELF-CONSCIOUS fulfillment? – which as we all know is so superficial and fleeting.

OR are my PRIORITIES on my SELF-LESS connection to my purpose of carrying on the dreams and traditions of my ancestors – as an ETERNAL LINK thru my children to serve G-d and build our People?!


If you’re like most of us, and having some difficulty maintaining your sobriety and recovery – let me share a little gift with you, based on my own personal GUIDE to help me fulfill the Twelve Steps.  I share this with all of the men and women I work with.  It is called the:

“Where are you on the Consciousness Scale Exercise” and I promise it will bring you sobriety, serenity and forever change your life:

Here’s how this Sobriety/Recovery Tool works.  Throughout your day/night, occasionally take a moment to think about where you are on the Consciousness Scale.  If I’m finding myself being Critical, Selfish, focusing only on what I can get out of any situation – then I’m hanging out in “Self-Consciousness” on the Scale.  And it is inevitable that people and situations probably won’t do what I WANT – and I’ll end up in Resentments or Fears – which for addicts means that we will most likely “Act Out!”

If I find myself being Kind, Generous and thinking about how I Can Help Others – then I’m in a much better place of “Other-Consciousness” on the Scale.  Which means that I’ll be much more Accepting of people and situations – and I’ll be much less likely to fall into resentments and fears – I will remain in Serenity and Sober.

Even better, if I can deliberately strive to have Emunah & Bitachon, be Humble and regularly ask “What does G-d want from me now?” I am living the ultimate Life of Recovery – Free and Liberated from the struggles and disappointments in life.  I am in a state of “God-Consciousness!”  With a bit of practice and time and regularly checking in with Where are you on the Consciousness Scale, then you will see your sobriety and recovery soar!!

I suggest you print and cut out this Consciousness Scale and keep it in your wallet or at your desk as a frequent reminder how to STAY OUT OF SELF!

Shabbat Shalom!

(ps. if you have a personal story or chiddush, you would like to share, I am looking for “guest” contributors to post.)

1 thought on “Parasha Mattos – Where are your Priorities??

Comments are closed.