Bamidbar: Resources For Parshat Bamidbar
Numbers 1 – 4:20
Each of us has a unique path to follow in serving God, only that path will bring us closer to the Almighty. But, what can happen if we seek someone else's way? What happened to the three converts who wanted to join Judaism with conditions? Did the one who wanted to become the High Priest get his wish? How do we know the order of the Hebrew alphabet?
Added: 18 Iyar 5771 | 22 May 2011
After a census of the Children of Israel has been taken, the fourth section of our Torah portion, Bamidbar, opens with the verse, “These are the generations of Aaron and Moshe….” The Torah then goes on to enumerate Aaron’s four sons. Moshe Rabbeinu’s two sons, however, are not mentioned.
Conceptually, the desert represents the mental space wherein the spark of leadership, dormant within each individual, has the opportunity, like a desert plant, to grow despite the forbidding environment. The desert provides a natural atmosphere of separation and isolation. It provides space for contemplation and meditation, the silence needed before the leader is revealed—first to himself and God—and only later to his people.
Chumash Bamidbar [the Book of Numbers] relates the account of the Jewish people’s long journey through the wilderness, from Mt. Sinai to the gates of the Promised Land. After a prolonged sojourn before Mt. Sinai, where we received the Torah and where the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was constructed,Parashat Bamidbar begins with the rigorous preparations for the journey ahead, conducted with a military spirit. As a census is taken of all the Children of Israel and the camp is organized according to their ensigns, the Jewish people literally become God’s Army.
The Book of Numbers is so called because it deals principally with the census of the Jewish nation and their organization around the Tabernacle according to their tribes. The entire census—including accounts of both the number of men in each tribe and an account of the total number of men in the entire nation—first appears in chapter 1. The order of encampment around the Tabernacle appears in chapter 2, “Each individual unto his flag with the banner of their patriarchal house shall the Children of Israel encamp, facing and surrounding the Tent of Meeting shall they camp.”