The Portion of Bamidbar

May 17, 2015

Photo credit: Yehoshua Halevi

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית לְצֵאתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר׃

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:

vai-da-BAYR a-do-NAI el mo-SHEH b'-mid-BAR see-NAI b'-O-hel mo-AYD b'-e-KHAD la-KHO-desh ha-shay-NEE ba-sha-NAH ha-shay-NEET l'-tzay-TAM may-E-retz mitz-RA-yim lay-MOR

Numbers 1:1

וְלֹא־יָבֹאוּ לִרְאוֹת כְּבַלַּע אֶת־הַקֹּדֶשׁ וָמֵתוּ׃

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.

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