The Portion of Bamidbar


On the first day of the second month, in the second year following the exodus from the land of Egypt, Hashem spoke to Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, saying:
Numbers 1:1
But let not [the Kohathites] go inside and witness the dismantling of the sanctuary, lest they die.
Numbers 4:20

The portion of Bamidbar 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.