The Parasha discusses the presentation of the tribes of Gad and Reuven to Moshe, where they request land in עבר הירדן, Trans-Jordan, for their abundance of cattle. Moshe immediately becomes upset with their request and accuses them of dissuading the Jewish People from crossing over into Eretz Yisroel. The two tribes then commit to joining the battle for the Land and that they will not return to their homes until the Jewish People have inherited the Land. Moshe acquiesces and a deal is struck. The Medrash chastises the two tribes for “rushing into things” and the punishment was that the tribes of Gad and Reuven were exiled first from all the other tribes.
While it is clear that the two tribes should have employed a more humble and deliberate approach, it is not clear from the narrative where their essential fault was. They had an abundance of cattle and the land that they desired was a place for livestock. What was so wrong with their demand?
When Chava gave birth to her first son, it is said (Bereishis 4:1) וַתֹּאמֶר קָנִיתִי אִישׁ אֶת יְ-ה-וָ-ה, and she said, “I have acquired a man with HaShem.” What does this mean? On the surface we can say that Chava was intimating that there are three partners in a child, HaShem, man and woman. The Zohar, however, states that Chava saw with Ruach HaKodesh, the Divine Spirit, that Kayin would have a descendant (perhaps not literally, as Kayin and his family were wiped out in the Great Flood), Yisro, also known as the קֵּינִי, whose descendants would earn themselves a place in the לשכת הגזית, the Hewn Chamber in the Bais HaMikdash. Thus, the Zohar is interpreting the verse to mean that Chava foresaw spirituality with her new קנין, acquisition. Perhaps this was the error of the two tribes in their request. They had a lot of מִקְנֶה, livestock (also similar to the word קנין) but they did not attribute that livestock to HaShem. Rather, they relied on the proverbial (Devarim 8:17) כֹּחִי וְעֹצֶם יָדִי עָשָׂה לִי אֶת הַחַיִל הַזֶּה, “my strength and the might of my hand made me all this wealth.” When one does not view his acquaintances coming from HaShem, the chances of success are limited, as is evident in the case of the two tribes. It is noteworthy that the words וּמִקְנֶה רַב הָיָה לִבְנֵי רְאוּבֵן וְלִבְנֵי גָד עָצוּם מְאֹד, the children of Reuven and the children of Gad had abundant livestock, equal in gematria the words כֹּחִי עֹצֶם יָדִי עָשָׂה לִי אֶת הַחַיִל, “my strength [and] the might of my hand made me all [this] wealth.”
HaShem should give us the wisdom to realize that everything comes from Him, and then we can truly appreciate our possessions and merit fulfilling His will.
Have an awesome Shabbos!