Matot Part Two
In Matot part two we examine the 21 century understanding of this portion. It is significant that the final war fought by the Children of Israel prior to their entry into the land was the war for sexual morality — to rectify the degradation of the sin of BAAL PE’OR as described at the end of parshas BALAK. The crafty Bilaam knew that sexual sin is the undoing of the holiness of Israel and the Midianites took his advice to entice the Israelites to take the short road from immorality to idolatry. The true holiness of the Land of Israel can be revealed only when the Land is cleansed of sexual immorality and degradation. [Similarly, Jacob went back to Beit El only after vengeance for the rape of Dinah and cleansing his house of idolatry, Genesis ch. 34-5. It was to bring moral cleansing that 1000 warriors from each of the Twelve Tribes went out against the Midianites, together with Pinchas, who was weighed against all of them. Pinchas was the hero of moral cleansing ever since he killed the Prince of the Tribe of Shimon and his Midianite woman.