Matot-Masei discusses the division of the land that the Israelites will soon be entering, as well as the divisions of troops and how they will work together to conquer the land. Reading such violent passages, especially in light of recent moments of breathtaking violence and brutality against innocents in our own country, can leave us hurt and questioning.
In Jewish tradition, including this text, naming is vitally important. As the divisions of soldiers formed, their leaders are named so that their stories can be enshrined in history, thousands of years later.
So too, the act of living as an out LGBTQ person in this country is still a tremendous act of courage, and the names and stories those who have given their lives in order to live full, joyous lives deserve our commemoration and respect.
As we read this week's portion, let us remember the names of the victims of senseless brutality as we remember the names of our ancient warriors. We owe it to ourselves as a holy community, a kehillah kedoshah, to love and support each other, especially when it is hard.
We need everyone, a whole community of tribes, of different people with different backgrounds and outlooks, if we are ever to reach the Holy Land.
Marley Weiner is Rabbinic Intern at Hillel at Temple University.