July 4, 2002
In these portions, the borders of Israel are drawn in two different ways. Unfortunately, they conflict. Mattot indicates Israel's borders extend from the Nile River to the Euphrates River. But Maseh is much more moderate and reports Israel's borders are between Dan and Beersheva.
Israel is, to this very day, in a dispute over her borders. Maybe the Torah is trying to tell us something about borders. Maybe the Torah is saying: borders can be changed -- and it is up to us to decide how to use them. Will we use them to shut other people out and call them our enemies, or will we expand them to include as many people as we can? Think about this next time you need to decide who you want to include as part of your group. You might see that when you open the border gates to someone you thought was your enemy, you will find that he or she has become your best friend.