מראית עין

This week’s Parsha speaks of the Tribes of Reuven, Gad, and half of Menashe, who requested to dwell on the east side of the Jordan River. They claimed that they needed the fertile land of Gilad, for cattle grazing.

At first, Moshe Rabbeinu was very upset with this request. He was afraid that the people would again be demoralized as they were during the evil report of the spies.

He uttered the famous Pasuk, האחיכם יבואו למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה. “Will your brothers go to war, and you will remain here?” The two and a half tribes promised that they would join the rest of the nation in battle, before they would settle the land.

Rabbi Soloveitchik uses this story to teach that we should be careful about מראית עין, giving the wrong impression. For example, if one has almond milk with a meat dish, he should leave a pile of almonds next to the almond milk.

The two and a half tribes needed to be careful not to

give the wrong impression that they were oblivious to the needs of the rest of the Jewish people. Shabbat Shalom