Author: Gidon Ariel

Published Date: May 18, 2020

Painting by Yoram Raanan

In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Bamidbar Numbers 1:1-4:20, is the first in the book of Numbers, and opens it with a census. It has been a year since the people left Egypt, and the Tabernacle is entering its operational stage. The camp needs to be arranged around it.

God orders a census of the people be taken, and commands that they encamp in a specific arrangement. The Levites are appointed to a special role within the Israelite camp, and are likewise counted separately. The portion ends with the first of the Levite families, Kehat, being given their responsibilities towards the Tabernacle.

Topic 1: A Census of the People
Bamidbar picks up on the first day of the second month of the second year since the Children of Israel left Egypt. God now instructs Moses to take Aaron and a leader from each tribe and count the people. The census is to account for every male of military age, according to their households. Since… Read More »

Topic 2: Formation of the Israelite Camp
The Torah now outlines the arrangement of the Israelite camp. The Tabernacle has become the central focus of the community, so it is not surprising to hear the camp must be erected around it. God tells Moses not to count the Levites in the census with the rest of the people, because they have… Read More »

Topic 3: Levites: A Special Role
If the other tribes of Israel were counted for military duty, we are now told about the duties of the Levites for which they will also be counted. They are responsible for safeguarding the Tabernacle and its utensils, and making sure none of the rest of the Children of Israel come to any harm by… Read More »

Topic 4: Responsibilities of the Kehat Family
Having been counted for redemption purposes, the Levites are now recounted for work, from the age of thirty to fifty. While Gershon and Merari’s responsibilities will be elaborated upon next week, our portion ends with the details of Kehat’s work. The members of Kehat are in charge of the holiest vessels of the Tabernacle.… Read More »

The content in this page is produced by and courtesy of The Israel Bible.

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