Weekly Portion: Bamidbar (Numbers 1-4)

Weekly Portion: Bamidbar (Numbers 1-4)

In the second year of travel in the desert, Moshe and Aharon were commanded by the Almighty to count all male Israelites between 20 and 60. There were 603,550 available for military service. The tribe of Levi was exempt because of their special duties as religious leaders. (It is probably from here that countries give divinity deferments to clergy and divinity students.)

The twelve tribes were directed regarding the formation (three tribes were on each side of the Portable Sanctuary) in which they were to camp and travel.

The 22,300 Levites were commanded in the Sanctuary service. The family of Gershon was to transport the coverings of the Sanctuary. The family of Kehos carried the Ark, Table, Menorah and Altars. The family of Merari transported the boards, pillars, bolts and sockets.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah gives instructions on how the children of Israel shall encamp in the desert — on which side of the Tent of Meeting shall each tribe camp and which tribes shall encamp together. The Torah states, “The tribe of Issachar …; the tribe of Zevulun…” Usually the Hebrew letter “vov” (meaning “and”) is added to the name of each tribe as it is listed. However, the “vov” is conspicuously missing between the names of the tribes Issachar and Zevulun. What is the Torah coming to teach us?

The Baal HaTurim (a fascinating commentary on the Torah) explains that the tribe of Zevulun worked to support itself as well as Issachar so that the tribe of Issachar could totally devote itself to Torah study. Thus they are considered as one tribe and the reward for the Issachar’s Torah study is the same for both tribes in the Heavenly World.

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz commented on this that just as one has the merit of Torah study for those he supports, likewise if one influences another to study Torah, he shares in the merit of that person. Thus we should help the study of Torah both through our financial support and through encouraging others to learn!

Open chat