The Portion of Beha’alotecha

Numbers 8:1-12:16

This busy portion contains a number of legal and technical details, as well as stories. We are told of the Levites’ appointment as assistants to the priestly service, and the celebration of Passover in the desert after the exodus. The preparations and arrangements for travel are outlined, as well. We read of two incidents in which the Israelites express dissatisfaction with God, and how He responds. Finally, we learn that even Biblical heroes make mistakes, as Moses’s siblings are punished for gossiping about their brother.

 

 

Topic 1: The Appointment of the Levites

Our portion begins with God instructing Aaron, via Moses, to kindle the Menorah lamp in the Tabernacle so that each light points towards the face of the Menorah. The Menorah itself, we are reminded, is hammered from a single piece of gold.   The Israel Bible points out the connection between Aaron and the story… Read More »

 

 

Topic 2: Passover in the Desert

One year after the exodus from Egypt, God tells the people they must celebrate Passover. It is the beginning of their second year in the wilderness. On the fourteenth day of the first month, they perform the Passover sacrifice as commanded, but not everyone is able to participate. Some members of the community had become… Read More »

 

 

Topic 3: Traveling the Desert

Now the Torah describes the process of the people’s journeys through the wilderness. We are told that once the Tabernacle was erected in the camp, the cloud of God’s Glory would settle upon it. When the cloud lifted off the Tabernacle, it was a sign the time had come to travel again. The people would… Read More »

 

 

Topic 4: The People’s Complaints

Here begins a dark chapter in the Israelites’ journey, foreshadowing worse to come next week. The Torah tells of not one, but two complaints the people level against God and Moses. The first is left to the reader’s imagination, and we are only told that God becomes angry and a fire spreads through the edge… Read More »

 

 

Topic 5: Miriam and Aaron Speak Ill of Moses

An unusual incident is now related, in which Miriam and Aaron speak poorly of their brother, particularly about his choice of wife. After all, they say, doesn’t God speak to us, too?   God is displeased with the disrespect the pair are showing towards their brother, so he calls them all to the Tabernacle. He… Read More »
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